Nearly two decades into their glorious career and The Wombats are pulling in bigger crowds than ever before, as evidenced by tonight’s venue: London’s O2.
Balancing a back catalogue of some of indies biggest hits with the band’s newest stuff taken from recent record Fix Yourself, Not The World, their night of greatest hits takes a trip down a disco ball and rubix cubed shaped memory lane, helping us to rediscover everything about the golden age of indie music that made this band a beloved mainstay.
Getting a night of greatest hits underway is material taken from the band’s most recent release, an album that saw these indie icons achieve their first ever UK number one. Set opener ‘Flip Me Upside Down’ kickstarts a night 19 years in the making, with bobbing heads and bouncing feet initiating lift-off from the moment Tord Øverland’s pounding bass begins. Still making driving, dance-indie with their tongue-in-cheek sense of sarcasm that their 20 year-old selves did to perfection, The Wombats’ new material never feels out of place on a greatest hits centric set-list.
The new age of Wombats songs doesn’t stop at the opener: seven Fix Yourself, Not The World tunes make the set-list. The ultimate sing-your-heart-out chorus in ‘This Car Drives All By Itself’ garners unity, while the supercharged, buzzing ball of energy that is ‘Ready For The High’ inhabits a kiddish attitude and childish spirit The Wombats have always exuded.
Elsewhere The Wombats have all the bases covered: frantic bursts of energy from A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation abound: classics ‘Moving To New York’, ‘Kill The Director’ and indie dance floor filler ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ shower the crowd in nostalgia.
“Half Moon, Putney is the first ever time we played London, we got a coach full of people down from Liverpool for that and we haven’t looked back since. Now we’re on stage at The O2” triumphantly enthuses frontman Murph, before launching into a slew of second album fan favourites from This Modern Glitch. ‘Techo Fan’ emulates the rave-inspired setting the song is inspired by, bringing a once East London warehouse party to the North London’s answer to a tent, one packed out with a raucous club-like vibe the song is directly inspired by. Techno vibes still flowing, ‘Jump Into The Fog’ gets the arena throwing shapes and the ultimate synth party of ‘Tokyo (Vampires And Wolves)’ gets Murphs “dance” demand living up to its expectation.
“Thanks for giving three ridiculous people an unforgettable evening,” says Murph, reeling from the emotional feelings a solo acoustic rendition of Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’s ‘Lethal Combination’ brings to proceedings. Closer ‘Turn’ follows suit, a slower paced song designed for those reflective moments that glitter bright in The Wombats’ high energy set, its chorus of “it won’t get better than this” seeming extremely fitting for these should-have-been Reading And Leeds ‘21 headliners, who finally got their own headlining moment of glory.
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