The Wombats @ Hammersmith Apollo by Simon Freedman

14th March 2011, Review by Simon Freedman
The sense of anticipation in the minutes leading up to “The Wombats” taking the stage was intense. They kicked off with Our Perfect Disease, the opener from forthcoming album This Modern Glitch. Although unfamiliar to many, its strong rhythms earned an enthusiastic response from the crowd. But once they launched into the next song, perennial favourite Kill the Director, the crowd went berserk and the band, feeding off the audience like only they can, stepped up a gear and the show really got started.

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Cleverly alternating between old and new songs they ensured the audience never had to wait too long for a familiar hook and singer Matthew’s well-honed skill at working the audience goes down a treat: it only took the comment “still with us?” in his characteristic Liverpudlian drawl in between songs to send the stalls into a frenzy. They even offer an ironic encore: “Go on, give us the wave before we pretend that we’re leaving; you know we’ll be right back really.”
The music’s blistering riffing and frenetic rhythms are mirrored perfectly by bassist Tord’s somewhat eccentric stage presence. Within the space of a few seconds he’s been up on the drum riser, missed the amp stack by a hair’s breadth, leaned over the edge of the stage and only just avoided slamming into Matthew’s Telecaster. Seemingly haphazard but actually highly crafted and controlled, just like the musical delivery.

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Although the atmosphere is excitable throughout, when they launch into their anthems, like Jump into the Fog and Moving to New York, the energy in the Apollo is almost tangible and when the opening synth chords for finale Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) come blaring out of the amps, the sound of 5,000 pairs of feet hitting the floor at the same time is astonishing. It’s hard to see how they could have given a better show.

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