THE WOMBATS - LIVE @ ALEXANDRA PALACE
By Johanna Urbancik
Photo: Phil Smithies
Last night, The Wombats returned to Ally Pally for the first time since their iconic gig there in 2015. Performing in front of roughly 10,000 excited fans, there are just a few words that can accurately describe the show’s atmosphere: rowdy, euphoric and ‘moshy’.
The show started off with a sleepy CGI Wombat opening its eyes to loud cheers, and from this point onwards, the crowd were in the palm of the band’s hand. ‘1996’ had to be stopped twice by frontman Matthew Murphy, before then actually being abandoned due to crowd safety concerns, and at the end of ‘Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)’, someone dressed as a giant, green fluffy lizard tried to force Murphy to the ground and start humping him. The band insisted it was Margot Robbie in that suit. It wasn’t.
The set list (of course) included all the band’s biggest hits, such as the rom-com inspired hit ‘Kill The Director’, but it was the show’s visual effects that were the surprising standout. There were Wombat-themed CGIs flashing throughout in vivid and ever changing colours, balloons, confetti; at times you could have been forgiven for thinking your were at a Coldplay concert it was that much of a spectacle. During the last song before encore - ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ - not only were there loads of little Wombat avatars peeking between the lines of Joy Division’s album artwork to ‘Unknown Pleasures’, but also big, bright, red confetti bombs that exploded over the baying crowd.
If you ask me, there’s no point even arguing that the Wombats don’t know how to put on a show by now, or how to satisfy their fans. With their fourth album having been released in February, the band’s still very much riding on a high, selling out shows in both the UK and across Europe. Singer Matthew Murphy has, once again, made use of his talent to turn his most embarrassing, desperate and degrading experiences into lighthearted indie-pop anthems, and their fans dig it. Especially their teenage fans. It’s like listening to a story about their own, often awkward, sometimes embarrassing lives, but this time it’s played out to a melody.
Keep playing that beat, guys. The Wombats have, once more, proved that they’re here to stay.