The Wombats album release party @ Hangar 34
Following the release of their fourth album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life in February, deputy music ed Jess and I headed down to Hangar 34 to witness Liverpool’s finest The Wombats in all their glory. With support from fellow Liverpool boys The Night Cafe and up-and-coming indie kids The Kicks, the sold-out home crowd were more than ready to welcome LIPA alumni and all-round legends Murph, Tord and Dan back home where they belonged.
Opening with newest single, the psychedelic Cheetah Tongue, The Wombats were as at home as ever in the intimate Baltic Triangle venue, a far cry from the huge crowds at the previous times I’d seen them, at our very own Liverpool Guild of Students and LIMF Festival. Immediately, the crowd knew the new track word-perfectly, a sure sign of the loyalty of Wombats fans, particularly those around their home city. Mixing the old with the new, The Wombats gave the adoring masses everything they could ever have dreamed of, rattling through a smorgasbord of hits from 2016 single Give Me A Try to classic indie floorfiller Kill the Director. I’ve seen The Wombats at various times at various venues in various stages of their career, and I don’t think there’s ever going to be a time where I tire of watching a room full of people scream “THIS IS NO BRIDGET JONES” with little self-consciousness or regard for their reputation, honestly.
The most impressive thing about The Wombats (apart from their ability to reduce grown adults into frenzied messes screaming about Renee Zellwegger characters, of course) is the constant stream of incredible music that they continue to churn out. Tunes from new offering Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life may appear slightly slicker and more produced than those on scuzzy debut album A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation, but the quality is still there, and new Wombats is still as catchy and interesting as ever. Songs like Black Flamingo and Lemon To A Knife Fight blend in perfectly with well-established tunes like Techno Fan and Emoticons, proving that the Liverpool three-piece don’t have to throw away the brand of indie-electronic vibes they’ve established for themselves to create new and refreshing music.
The Wombats’ set not only catered to their audience of enthusiastic fans by being strictly well-known anthems only, but also served to show off their versatility, sandwiching the dreamy Jump Into The Fog between Wombats classics Moving To New York and Let’s Dance To Joy Division, and allowing a moment of pure euphoria amongst the madness. …Joy Division is always an absolute pleasure to witness live, but never as much as in front of a Scouse audience, as the clunky, fuzzy opening bars alongside that first line “I’m back in Liverpool and everything seems the same” is enough to strike a chord even in the hearts of adopted Scousers like myself. It seems that Liverpool and The Wombats belong to one another, and nothing encompasses that quite like Let’s Dance To Joy Division.
In stark contrast to the unadulterated hysteria of Let’s Dance To Joy Division, The Wombats began their encore with recent single Turn, a poignant and heartfelt soon-to-be classic that serves as a reminder that the band can do emotional tunes just as well as they can do energetic bangers. This sudden explosion of emotion didn’t stick around for too long though, as following it came the electro-infused Tokyo- Vampires and Wolves, a tune plucked straight from second album This Modern Glitch and which seemed to involve strobes, mosh pits, and someone in a wombat costume appearing from the back of the venue and crowdsurfing their way to the stage. Finishing up their set with the whimsical Greek Tragedy from more recent album Glitterbug, The Wombats left the stage sweaty and triumphant, having blessed all those who’d come to see them. With the promise of an afterparty, it seemed the night was not over for The Wombats and all their adoring fans, who followed them faithfully back into town to EBGBs for a DJ set by Tord and Dan.
Even after 15 years in the music industry, The Wombats are living proof that if you’re making music that resonates with people, you can make music forever. People care about them in 2018 just as much as they did upon the release of their debut album in 2007, and none so much as the people in Liverpool, to whom Murph, Tord and Dan are nothing short of gods. Beautiful People May Ruin Your Life is already one of my favourite albums of the year, and as always, it is so so good to have The Wombats back again.
‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ is available to listen to on Spotify .