Those in attendance harbouring any doubt regarding the live credentials of The Wombats will have had them dispelled after the Liverpool trio brought their recognisable and catchy brand of indie-rock to the Rock City.
Fresh from headlining the Festival Republic Stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals the band, led by lead singer Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy, were bringing the curtain down on the promotion of third album Glitterbug, which charted at #5 in the UK upon its release back in April, and certainly managed to send it off in style! Opening as they meant to go on with synth-tinged ‘Give Me A Try’ before following up with ‘Jump Into The Fog’, there were clear sections of the crowd who sang back every lyric in time (albeit not always in tune!). However, it was the opening riff of the ever-popular ‘Moving to New York’ which provoked what was probably the loudest roar of the evening.
“Any freshers in tonight?” asked Murph, to which small pockets of new students vocalised their approval. “We’re really jealous of where you are in your lives right now” he continued, in a seemingly wistful wave of nostalgia to the debut album which elevated their status through its seemingly effortless identification with the nation’s young people. It would be impossible to say that the first, second and third albums are not entirely different – indeed the contrast between ‘1996’ and ‘Be Your Shadow’, played back to back, is obvious to all. Yet the band seemed to have matured as performers over time, gradually developing their shows to the point where the crowd is literally eating out of their hand!
There was one negative point to the gig from a personal perspective, with ‘Curveballs’ having a real ‘track-filler’ feel to it, with very little response from an otherwise active crowd – when compared to other ‘Glitterbug’ songs such as ‘Pink Lemonade’ or ‘Your Body Is A Weapon’, it was clear which the crowd rated more highly.
As always with a Wombats gig, the conclusion was spectacular, with ‘Kill The Director’ and ‘This Modern Glitch’ single ‘Tokyo’ finishing the main set to rapturous applause, before the group returned for a rollercoaster three-song encore including the emotive ‘Isabel’, the lyrically outstanding ‘Greek Tragedy’ and then the electric pace of ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ to conclude months of touring since Glitterbug’s release. The tour rolls on to numerous other venues before the Autumn is out, and Murph has stated that work on album number four will begin very soon afterwards. Judging by the response at the Rock City on this cool Monday night, they can rely on Nottingham to arrive in numbers once more upon their return.
Setlist: Give Me A Try Jump Into The Fog Moving To New York 1996 Be Your Shadow Your Body Is A Weapon Patricia The Stripper Pink Lemonade Techno Fan Emoticons Curveballs The English Summer Kill The Director Tokyo Isabel Greek Tragedy Let’s Dance To Joy Division
By Archie Banks