I’m watching the video for The Wombats’ latest single, 'Cheetah Tongue’ and thinking back to how I was at the opening night of their UK tour. They played O2 Academy Sheffield on Friday 9th March and it was a wild night!
The venue itself was lovely, with a capacity of 2,350 and a balcony view available.
The excitement was palpable. If the first supporting act, Bloxx, set the tone for the night, the next act (The Night Café) furthered the mood; even going as far to encourage the crowd to “spread the circle” when people started a moshpit, but it was only when the Liverpudlian trio took to the stage that everyone really became animated. I’ve never seen anything like it!
In my personal experience, I had thought seeing The Strokes play Hyde Park in 2015 was rowdy, and I would never have expected that my first moshpit experience would be at a Wombats gig! No one was violent though, but people were pushing and shoving so much that I had to hold onto the barrier for dear life. It was all good fun and seemed fitting when Murph sang “come a little closer, it’s alright”.
The Wombats kicked off the set with ‘Kill the Director’, followed by the equally upbeat ‘Moving to New York’. I can’t help but sing the chorus (badly, though, I might add), even as I type this. A lot of their songs are upbeat and catchy. It’s pretty much what they’re known for, even if the lyrics can be in stark contrast.
The Wombats started their careers singing tales of teenage heartbreak (“if this is a rom-com, kill the director”) and this has evolved into Murph singing about an argument he had with his wife. ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’ and is about an argument the couple had after watching a David Lynch film. It was the first single to be taken from the band’s new album, ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ last year and, of course, there was a numpty in the crowd who decided to throw a lemon on to the stage! Unluckily for the thrower, it totally missed the stage and fell into the pit.
Luckily for Dan, Murph and Tord, the scale of fruit throwing wasn’t on the same level as that of at Harry Styles’ concerts, where nearby supermarkets had to ban the sale of kiwis to prevent them being thrown at the poor lad.
Whilst on stage, frontman Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy told the audience stories about his time in Barcelona, for example, where he “drank too much red wine”. It was a little hard to hear what else had happened but I think he wrote a song there. Drummer Dan also spoke to the crowd on quite a few occasions.
Near the end, Murph said “We’re going to play two more songs, but that’s a bit of a lie,” which gave everyone a clue that there would be an encore. ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ seemed to be the one everyone was waiting for. Giant inflatable balloons were thrown into the crowd and three wombat mascots also came onto stage for the finale. Other songs performed were ‘Backfire at the Disco’, as well as ‘1996’, ‘My First Wedding’ and ‘Emoticons’.
The electro-pop band have a very distinctive style and play a great show. They played a good mix of old and new songs. I actually discovered new songs of theirs whilst at the gig.
As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one night, it turned out that The Wombats were playing a DJ set very close to where I was staying-across the road, in fact! I had no excuses not to go! Dan and Tord were spinning the tunes. They went for big hits like ‘Basketcase’ by Green Day and ‘Flaws’ by Bastille.