Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW
May 9th 2017
Despite their Liverpool origins, The Wombats homage to the cherished native animal has continued to solidify their place in Australia’s hearts since their debut album A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation. With that in mind, it is no surprise that following their successful run with Groovin The Moo, the Triple J sweet hearts put on a banger of night celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their debut album for a sold out Sydney Opera House.
We were lucky enough to join in on the festivities for the second night of the sold out, two show run.
At a glance, one may be confused by the choice in venue; entirely seated, in the round staging, in the Opera house… This seemed to be the general consensus of the crowd with the attire varying from ‘Homeless chic Hipster’ to ‘These shoes cost more than your car, Fancy’. But regardless of this confusion around the tone of the event, everyone was ready to dance, and dance they did.
With no support act prior to (presumably because the Opera House has to be quite a pricey venue) The Wombats are thrust on stage, adorned in suits and sporting ear to ear grins that mirrored that of the audience. The beginning riffs of ‘Kill The Director‘ are played and the audience jump out of their seats in excitement. The exhilarating energy felt through the room is so immediate that it became unclear whether the crowd or the band started it, but regardless it set the bar high for the night.
‘Moving to New York‘ and ‘1996‘ follow, adding further fuel to a fiery crowd. Lead singer Matthew Murphy quipping that ‘they may need help with the lyrics’ since it’s been 10 years and although he kids, I’m sure 99% of the audience (myself included) knew every word by heart.
Swiftly moving into ‘Give Me A Try‘ and ‘Jump Into The Fog‘, slowing it down ever so slightly in an attempt to let everyone breath. It’s at this point I’d guess the boys slowly began to regret their choice in attire; Although it may have felt like two degrees outside, the concert hall began to heat up quite quickly. Despite this, in their suits they remain resilient as they all pat themselves down with towels and jump into an energetic performance of ‘The English Summer‘, which had everyone in an emotional whirlwind, quickly followed up by heartfelt fan-favorite ‘Here Come The Anxiety‘.
Showing off their talent in tonal transitions, of which contrasted what can only be described as aesthetically pleasing lights followed by an abrupt moment of strobe lights every now and then, They mix it up with ‘Lost in the Post’, ‘Your Body Is A Weapon’, ‘My First Wedding‘ and ‘Backfire At The Disco’; Four tracks that one couldn’t possibly stand still for. Murphy jumps around the stage, feeding off the energy and pulling out a fantastic vocal performance.
The ‘Flashlight waving’ quota is filled with personal favorite ‘Little Miss Pipedream‘ followed by ‘Techno Fan’, ‘Emoticons’ and ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)’. Murphy’s stage presence continuing to thoroughly entertain as the crowd are taken on a nostalgic trip of phenomenal pop-rock music.
I’d like you to name one band who doesn’t comment on the fake nature of an encore; while you’re at it actually, feel free to name a band who didn’t actually come on for their encore. Needless to say after the obligatory encore break, The Wombats prove that they could push it to 11. Finishing the night with ‘Greek Tragedy‘ and the long awaited ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division‘; Undoubtedly one of the most iconic songs of the past ten years and boy you can tell. When the opening notes rang out, the room transcended to a whole new level of exhilaration. There was smoke. There was confetti. There was six poor guys dressed in Wombats suits carefully dancing and praying they didn’t trip on anything. There was joy.
It’s clear to see why The Wombats have lasted 10 years and continue to make consistently fantastic music. The musical talent and overall stage presence is equally off the charts for all three members of the band. But most of all you can tell they enjoy it and that translates into a phenomenal night for all lucky enough to see them.