For a band that had their golden year and apparent career-peak in 2007/8, a tour eight years later could only be considered to be an embarrassing attempt to regain a glory-era lost in the mists of time.
Although some may feel that way, for those of us who “enjoyed” our mid-teens during those years, the announcement of a Wombats tour spoke to the parts of us buried long ago; before proper jobs, moving out, university, A Levels, even GCSEs… Before shit got real, essentially.
When we heard The Wombats were going on tour, the 15-year-old messes of hormones stirred, with their intense emotions and wild empathy to thrashy love songs. Twangy guitars and wild drum beats were what we lived for in those days, and those of us who were seemingly in a state of constant hyperactivity responded incredibly well to these lovelorn Scouse lads.
When their follow-up album appeared in 2011, the interest just wasn’t quite as piqued. Apart from ‘Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)’ and ‘Techno Fan’, not much else made it through the fog.
Who can say why. Perhaps it was the discovery of alcohol and shitty electro-pop. I shudder at the thought.
Although I certainly had no idea what to expect from the gig at all, The O2 Academy in Birmingham felt like the perfect setting for a gig such as this. The crowd was generally all late teens and early 20s, with a few silver heads sparsely integrated.
The unintelligible but vibe-sy support band were definitely something to behold, but when The Wombats themselves came out the atmosphere exploded. They kicked off with ‘Your Body Is A Weapon’ from latest album Glitterbug, a fun and witty track full of electric guitars and self-depreciation – quintessential Wombs. Hearing ‘Jump Into The Fog’ for the first time – and live – definitely opened up a spot in my heart for it.
Then it was time. They did it at the perfect time. Teasing us a little with tracks from the newest and second album just intensified the hunger, but it was definitely time for Wombats stalwart ‘Moving To New York’. And as you can expect, the room just couldn’t handle it. Elbows smushed faces, knees went up bums and it was just generally all round carnage. FANTASTIC carnage.
As was necessary at this point, they relented slightly and gave us Glitterbug’s ‘Greek Tragedy’, followed by ‘Party In A Forest (Where’s Laura?)’, at which point I half expected everyone to throw their arms round each other and oooh along together. ‘Be Your Shadow’, despite the slightly creepy name, is a lovely little ditty, and ‘1996’ had everyone screaming along with faces contorted in intense emotion. ‘This Is Not A Party’ was followed by new 70’s-vibe track ‘Headspace’ that went down very well.
In a shock twist (shocking to me, anyway), next track ‘Techno Fan’ was actually the crowd favourite of the night. Every song was met with approval and love, but this one really went down a treat – and it was the one that was stuck in the minds after the whole thing. ‘The English Summer’ and ‘Little Miss Pipedream’ preceded the next big debut-album-favourite ‘Kill The Director’, which seemed faster and more furious than ever.
Glitterbug single ‘Give Me A Try’ was another absolute treat for the ears, and final track ‘Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)’ was really quite impressive live – it’s always been a massive earworm, so to see it live was a massive highlight.
The encore was sultry new track ‘Emoticons’, with its Pharrell-esque verses and oh-so-relatable choruses. And, of course, they did us all a favour and finished off with ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’. As they should have done.