As an American, loving British bands is the worst. They waltz into your life, you fall in love with their music, and then they’re gone for three years, spending their time playing festivals in Europe and recording in England. In sum: they’re just never around as much as you want them to be. This is my situation with the Wombats, a three-man indie rock outfit from Liverpool comprised of Matthew Murphy, Dan Haggis, and Tord Knudsen. I first saw the boys at Webster Hall three years ago and fell deeply in love with their live show. Three years passed before I was able to see them again on their Glitterbug Tour. Luckly, this concert surpassed my already high expectations and made the wait worth it.
The first opener was the Philadelphia-based band Cheerleader, who looked like they could have guest-starred on The O.C. years ago. This is not a negative thing, as my favorite band Rooney (long may they play on in my heart) was featured on the show back in 2004, as were bands like The Killers and Modest Mouse. Their third song, “A Million Ways,” was their best. They closed with “Feel Like That,” a newer song that didn’t sound like it was quite ready. Unfortunately, it made their exit seem a little weak.
When Life in Film took the stage, my first thought was “HIPSTER CITY!” The London-based indie rock band announced that it was their first time in New York and that their album, Here It Comes, was releasing the following week. They had a great sound; think of it as a combination of Vampire Weekend and Kings of Leon. I thought Cheerleader was good and Life in Film was great—however, they both committed the cardinal opening band sin: neither group played a cover. Come on, y’all, throw the audience a bone here.
The best kinds of concerts are the ones that make you forget that time exists. The Wombats deliver just that—there’s no downtime where you check your watch and realize how little sleep you’re getting, or that you’ve been standing for three hours already. They kicked off their set with “Your Body Is a Weapon” and played for the next hour and a half, alternating new Glitterbug tracks with classics like “1996” and “Kill the Director.” If you went in not familiar with the music, it didn’t matter; the energy emanating from the crowd and the band carried you through. The venue’s floor shook during stand out tracks “Techno Fan,” “Be Your Shadow,” and fan favorite “Tokyo” from the sheer amount of jumping. Even that couldn’t compare with the wave of screams and cheers brought on by their last song “Let’s Dance to Joy Division”—I still feel a little deaf. In a great way.
The bright sound and anthemic choruses that make up The Wombats’ songs lend themselves perfectly to a live show. I count their concerts among the best shows I’ve ever attended. I’d recommend them to any Wombats fan, fan of indie rock, or anyone looking for a fun, inclusive concert experience. Besides two hideously drunk girls who crashed the stage, it was probably the best, most polite crowd I’ve ever been in. However, be warned: you’d better show up ready to jump and dance—the floor will be moving whether you want it to or not, so you might as well embrace it.