I'm back in Liverpool and... The Wombats take the stage! Live review @ Mountford Hall
I’m back in Liverpool and The Wombats take the stage at Mountford Hall to deliver their second in a run of three hometown shows on their ‘All The Hits’ tour. Off the back of their #1 5th album ‘Fix Yourself, Not The World’ the Merseyside trio seem to be as fresh as ever and sounding completely comfortable in where their sound has evolved to. Undoubtedly they are still renowned for their witty coming of age debut 15 years ago and so going in I was interested to see if the newer tracks would induce the same levels of excitement in the crowd as their early classics or if they would feel somewhat like filler as the room waited for the first album highlights.
I am pleased to say that the former was true. What was initially striking was the proportion of the might that was taken up by their newest record. Seven of the album’s tracks flavoured the set heavily with a varied blend of angsty high tempo energy, electro melodies and anthemic choruses and by no means did they act as filler! ‘Flip Me Upside Down’ opened the set with a dancy vibe, appropriately flipping between a more spaced out atmosphere that rings of frontman Matthew Murphy's solo project Love Fame Tragedy and a more intense bouncing, riff-driven rhythm. Meanwhile, ‘This Car Drives All By Itself’ produced one of the biggest sing-a-long moments of the night with its simplistic yet infectious chorus that really needs no backing, the sign of a great melody.
The middle of the set dove into their earlier hits. First, ‘Techno Fan’ lit up the crowd with its bright synth hooks that still sound as modern as ever, fitting in perfectly with the revival of electro/synth sounds in the indie scene. Then, as they hit the halfway point a back to back performance of ‘1996’ and ‘Kill The Director’ showed the two sides that shot them to the top of the Indie radar. The insightful lyrics ready to be sang at top volume proceeded a hectic barrel of coming of age love stories wrapped in youthful angst summed up by the later track’s lyrics.
“With the angst of a teenage band,
Here’s another song about a gender I’ll never understand”.
The on stage sound problems in ‘Jump Into The Fog’ didn’t dampen spirits as drummer Dan Haggis led an anthemic chant from the crowd until the problems were fixed. If anything this raised the excitement for the actual song as every member of the audience had their vocals warmed up and ready to go…and the results were spine tingling. The main set then came to a close with ‘Greek Tragedy’ a major fan favourite that has all the majesty and grandeur to fulfill a homecoming show.
But, of course, the night wasn’t finished there. The tension fueled build up of ‘Method to the Madness’ initiated the encore and left a lasting imprint of their new album on the set, making it clear for everyone that they are no where near being finished. Then the moment that the Scouse crowd had been waiting for arrived. ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ sent the floor into a frenzy as the high octane Indie Rock energy combined with the lyrics of returning to Liverpool to create an irresistible concoction for everyone present.
However, there was one last treat. As they played out the heartfelt, passionate anthem ‘Turn’ they welcomed their famous dressed up wombats on stage and showered the crowd with technicolor confetti to close the night with an adequate mix of their down to earth humour and stylized performance. Overall a fantastic show that demonstrated just how adored the three guys are by their home town and proved that their creative spark has far from gone out.