It was a case of déjà vu with The Wombats as they headed to Perth for a pre-weekend bash, their Splendour sideshow back in 2015 not seeming that long ago, walking through the looming multi story maze that is Metro City. Warming up for their final slot on the Groovin’ the Moo tour, and celebrating a decade of flailing unpredictable around to the age defying Brit pop rockers debut album, the anticipation was palpable.
Although there had been significant confusion over the tours advertising with some punters expecting Milky Chance and The Jungle Giants as support, local Perth band Verge Collection delivered a cracking set to soothe their woes. The infectious indie rock beaming with suburban street charm picked up plenty of fans, the four piece clearly stoked to be playing in front of the packed venue as they churned out warming tales of IGA’s and P-plates.
Waiting in the pit for the headline act and there was more than a little tense energy going around with a lot of crowd members ready to bite at anyone threatening to come between them and the spot they had claimed. It was an uncomfortable wait pressed in with your neighbour until the light show heralded the Liverpudlians arrival. The front end of the setlist was everything the room had been waiting for, smashing out Kill the Director, Moving to New York and 1996 back to back, the floor heaving in an effort to elicit a dance move or two. Bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen worked the stage harder than a zumba instructor as frontman Matt Murphy twirled around the mic stand.
Promising to hit some of the older tracks for the anniversary, the middle of the show was almost an ode to with tunes like Lost in the Post and Little Miss Pipedream taking things slow, Murphy joking to sing along if you knew the words as he didn’t before having an intimate moment with a roadie as he held a temperamental mic in place. Emoticons was cut short as a fault seemed to erupt in the frontman’s guitar, quickly assuring the crowd that “a bit of electrocution never hurt anyone”, before leaping into Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) to salvage the high. Saving the undeniable best for last, Let’s Dance to Joy Division went off, in advance of the customary instrumental rock off by the trio.
Although the crowd were a major buzz kill, and the set seemed to lack a margin of the excitable vigour I had fondly remembered from their last tour, The Wombats had delivered everything that could have been asked of them and for the most part punters left with a dreamy grin and a bit of an accent.