I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from The Wombats. I knew some of their singles but after that I’d be at a loss, so March 20th in The Academy was going to be a little adventure.
The Minutes had the job to open for The Wombats, when I heard this, I was a little surprised, I would have presumed they would be a much heavier band. They opened with their new single ‘Black Keys’ and within minutes the Dublin three piece has stamped their authority on the stage. Big, brash, bold, contemporary with nod at old school garage rock.
Lead singer, Mark Austin says that he hopes the audience all went to Mass because ‘it’s Sunday’. Throughout the show he lets his wit shine with occasional little quirks but you can see he’s not up for bull$hit and is happier playing music.
As the band play ‘Believer’, it becomes apparent just how ready these guys are for bigger things. They show themselves to be a professional, tight outfit who give it socks onstage. Shane Kinsella’s drumming is a major part of the band’s live appeal, easily proving himself to be one of the best on the Irish scene.
Songs from their forthcoming debut, Secret History, Gold and Fleetwood show what a great album ‘Marcata’ is shaping up to be. The band finish their set with ‘My Time of Dying’. Great set, if they had to be headlining I’d have gone home happy.
The venue is pretty full as The Wombats come to the stage to an enthusiastic audience response. ‘Our Perfect Disease’ is greeted with gusto and the devoted crowd are immediately under the band’s spell.
‘Kill The Director’ keeps the tempo up, the audience getting the opportunity to show their voice with the ‘Bridget Jones’ refrain.
There are a couple of things that are instantly noticeable. The Wombats have more electronica going on than I had expected. The other is that in a time when a lot of bands hide vocals in the live mix, The Wombats have Matthew Murphy’s vocals nicely audible, perfect to compliment their sing along tunes.
The new album ‘This Modern Glitch’ is out next month so it’s no surprise that some tracks, unknown by the audience make an appearance. They take it in baby steps, giving current single ‘Jump into the Fog’ an outing before returning to familiar territory with ‘Patricia The Stripper’.
It at this stage we get the first mosh of the night. The band manage to work the devoted fan base up so much that, it’s like they’re going to explode! A few times during the night, house lights subtly go on before returning to concert vibe when all is well.
The Liverpool based trio seem quite chatty with drummer Dan Haggis telling the audience he’s wearing an Irish jersey for a forfeit. The crowd don’t mind why he’s wearing and Irish jersey, he’s wearing one. Matthew tells a couple of die-hards in the first row he’s impressed they know the words of ‘There She Goes’, saying it’s ‘Pretty obscure, that one’.
Using some clever visuals on three triangular screens in a W shape, the stage is always interesting. The band interact well with each other and bass player Tord seems to have a fan club and they get lots of smiles.
Fan favourites Techno Fan and Backfire at the Disco get the mosh going again before the band play 1996 from the new album. The track starts with a dirty synth line that The Naked and Famous would be proud of.
The Wombats know how to write catchy tunes. Memorable danceable hooks suit the crowd here down to the ground as Moving to New York proves. Matthew plays tribute to a place ‘that’s going through a pretty hard time’, before the opening notes of Tokyo fill the room
The band leave the stage to raptourous applause, I’m quite impressed by The Wombats. Their catchy lyrics get the audience to sing right back to the band and it seems everyone here knows every word. I feel a little left out but take solace in the fact no one knows the first song they play in their encore.
Their upcoming single Anti-D, builds up slowly but wins over the crowd. One song left, ‘One last chance to dance’ The crowd goes nuts to the opening strain of ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’, leading to the biggest indoor mosh I’ve ever witnessed, still, everyone is screaming along to the song.
I was really impressed by both bands tonight, The Minutes are ready to be unleashed on the world, The Wombats are about to unleash their new album. I think they may have a new fan, I’ve been humming ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ since.