The Wombats are the epitome of the British indie rock band, giving performances as impressive as their extensive discography.
It was a wet and slushy Tuesday night when we set out to see The Wombats in the glorious O2 Academy Bournemouth. The upper circle and boxes in the heavens made you feel nice and snug standing down in standing below, and the room got cosier as more and more fans spilled into the venue.
Support band Blaenavon were met by an enthusiastic crowd. The Hampshire trio and their indie rock came alive on the stage, and we all appreciated lead singer Ben Gregory’s luscious shiny locks. Their music was euphoric, reflecting in the joy you could tell they were getting from the keen gig goers.
The Wombats themselves were faultless and their setlist immense, in terms of both size and quality. But really The Wombats can’t put a foot wrong with a hoard of gems on every single album they’ve produced, not least their latest, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.
The wombat animations were simple yet mesmerising as we bounced around the crowd, from the wombat shaped ice cream scoops melting in cones for ‘Ice Cream’ to the hypnotic wombat of ‘Turn’. But when “The Wombats” popped up overhead in neon-like Japanese, huge balloons descended and confetti poured from the ceiling for ‘Tokyo – Vampires & Wolves’, the revved-up crowd – warmed up with tunes like ‘1996’, ‘Techno’ and ‘Kill the Director’ – found another gear. As did the performers, with a mad rendition of ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’.
Apart from a few lulls, the set had us compulsively dancing throughout and left us completely satisfied by the end – we’d had our fill and then some. Of course, lead singer Matthew Murphy – who was on point all night – did an acoustic version of ‘Lethal Combination’ which was just super-duper cute as everyone calmed down and waved their arms in the air. Ending on ‘Greek Tragedy’ proved a winner with the crowds too.
A shout-out also to bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen who was, as always, having a whale of a time on stage with an energy that he didn’t need to infect the crowd with – we had been showing symptoms from the off. Starting with the first song of the latest album, ‘Cheetah Tongue’, and the classic hit from their very first album, ‘Moving to New York’, is going to have that effect.
Not a second was wasted and the show was jam packed with as many of their greatest hits as they could possibly fit into an hour and a half. But far from relying on this impressive discography, the Liverpudlian three-piece gave a stellar performance.
The Wombats are certainly not going the way of the dodo any time soon. After over a decade in the game they remain the unrivalled British indie rock band.