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Let’s face it – Australia will never have enough of The Wombats

A lot has been made of late about The Wombats’ penchant for frequently touring Australia. In fact, they’ve already got another run of shows locked in before the end of 2018.

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bandAnna Photography

For anyone in attendance who may have been wondering if they tour our shores too frequently, those thoughts would’ve been dashed about half way through ‘Cheetah Tongue’, the first song of the night and the opening track of new album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life. Even loyal fans usually want to hear the old stuff more than anything, yet every time a new album song was played it was met with a surprisingly favourable reception. Perhaps this emphasises just why the three-piece can tour Australia so often, because their new material continues to do so well.

They really rinsed the new record too. From lead single ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’ to album closer ‘I Don’t Know Why I Like You But I Do’ and even deeper cuts like ‘White Eyes’ – over half the album got a look in. The brilliant ‘Turn’ got the crowd bouncing around like it was a 15-year-old classic.

The setlist had just about everything you could want. Ranging from earlier tracks like ‘Moving To New York’, ‘Jump Into the Fog’, ‘1996’ through to ‘Your Body Is A Weapon’, ‘Pink Lemonade’ and ‘Emoticons’ from 2015’s Glitterbug. ‘Give Me a Try’ was an early set highlight and got the crowd’s voices warmed up nice and early, making for many a singalong throughout their brilliantly selected set. It was probably the highlight of it all, until the effervescent ‘Techno Fan’ was played, resulting in justified hysteria.

Not only were the song choices simultaneously everything a hardcore fan, casual observer, or new album fan could hope to hear, but the sound was absolutely outstanding. So often critics bemoan poor mixing at live concerts, and it can ruin an otherwise fantastic gig, yet on this occasion it was outstanding. Even those who didn’t know the words to some songs could make out every lyric that frontman Matthew Murphy sang.

Murphy didn’t speak a whole lot during the set, but when he did he made it count. Mainly lots of comments that referred to their love of Melbourne. It’s true that Melbourne, and indeed Australia, has been a happy hunting ground for the band and their audience indeed love them in return. That kind of positive two-way energy going to and from the stage makes for a special evening of music.

No Wombats gig is complete without two things: the singalong of “this is no Bridget Jones” during ‘Kill The Director’, and finishing either the regular set or encore with ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’. This evening it was the regular set that received the latter. If one song’s endurance typifies why people still flock to see the band even though they come to Australia this regularly, it’s ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’. Every single time you hear it you want to dance and it never seems to get old, just like a Wombats show.

After the obligatory encore the band returned for a quick-fire flurry of songs, ending with two absolute belters in ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)’ and ‘Greek Tragedy’. Both songs made for a sweaty and fun ending to a stellar night of music, begging the question: can The Wombats play a bad gig?

Highlight: The positive energy in the venue for the entire show.

Lowlight: Not being able to get a drink in GA at Festival Hall.

Crowd Favourite: ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ but ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves’ was a close contender.