Photos by Josh Braybrook
The Wombats frontman exhausted every end of his green Love Fame Tragedy discography here.
Matthew Murphy, of The Wombats fame, is back in Australia, but not as you would expect. Arriving less than a year since his main act’s colossal Festival Hall show, Murphy comes under the new guise of Love Fame Tragedy, the collaborative moniker which he has described as somewhere between Gorillaz and a solo project.
Enlisting numerous big names as co-writers, such as Dan Smith of Bastille as well as members of The Killers, alt-j and Pixies, the songs released so far range from stomping ballads to guitar-driven tunes, swimming in the realm of the modern conglomeration of indie-rock and pop.
With an energetic arsenal of tour musicians in tow, Love Fame Tragedy descended on Howler from sunny England for one of their few Australian tour dates. Kicking off with previously released track ‘Backflip’, the room was rocked with the crunchy guitar riffs and a thrusting chorus, with numerous cheers from the crowd.
After hitting out with one of their few familiar songs, the band followed up with a procession of unreleased tracks. Even Murphy commented on how odd it was for him to play a tour where fans would only be able to singalong to four of the songs.
But these fresh tunes were met well, with ‘Everything Effects Me Now’ feeling like a raucous, noughties indie spat, reminiscent of The Hives. The song ‘Hardcore’ was a heavier track with a chorus that verged on the metal spectrum of rock music. With all of these tunes being completely unknown to the audience, it gave the gig the feeling of a new band who have just set out; somewhat of a paradox considering Murphy’s fame.
It did seem as though this touring schedule was getting to Murphy however. Even though it was a Wednesday, he remarked early on how great it was to see so many people on a Tuesday night. It was only later, thanks to his roadie, that he realised his mistake to hilarious consequences.
Towards the middle of the gig, they played another released track, ‘Brand New Brain’, which shifted from a sultry ballad to a raucous crescendo of crashing cymbals and anthemic chantings of “I’m trying, I’m trying now”. Murphy’s band thrashed about the stage in ecstasy as his drummer revelled in flicking his long hair about while he smashed the snare.
Murphy introduced another unheard song by saying how it was for his own wife, who likes it, but is confused by its meaning. ‘Please Don’t Murder Me’ was a little acoustic ditty played solo by Murphy in which he begged his one true love to not murder him in his sleep.
The night came to an end with the recently released ‘Pills’ and debut single ‘My Cheating Heart’ serving as prominent singalongs for a crowd who didn’t have many chances to singalong at this gig. Sadly though, it finished after only thirty minutes of the band on stage, prompting some punters to either be saddened by an experience that was far too fleeting, or annoyed by the exorbitant price tag for such a short set.
Regardless of which side you were on, Love Fame Tragedy proved an invigorating slice of indie-pop who are an enjoyable, albeit short-lived, treat live.
Highlight: Murphy’s at times hilarious quips.
Lowlight: The criminally short setlist.
Crowd favourite: First single and final song ‘My Cheating Heart’.