On Friday, October 19th, English indie-rock band The Wombats condensed their extensive catalog of music into a jam-packed hour and a half set at The Fillmore in Philadelphia. Following an explosive opening set by Barns Courtney, lead vocalist and guitarist Murph (Matthew Murphy), drummer Dan Haggis, and bassist Tord Knudsen jumped into “Cheetah Tongue,” off their newest release Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.
As The Wombats have been releasing music since 2007, and their albums tend to be on the longer side, they had plenty of songs to pick from to craft the perfect setlist, and they seemed to hit on everything the audience desired. While focusing on the most recent release, they still revisited popular songs from their first album, A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation, including Moving to New York, Patricia The Stripper, and Let’s Dance To Joy Division, which remains their most popular song.
The fact that they have continued to produce music across the past decade lead to a very interesting demographic in the crowd, with an equal mix of people in their 20s with people in their 30s and 40s. Regardless of the age disparity, everyone in attendance came together and danced along to their favorite Wombats hits.
Some of my favorite moments of the night including during “Pink Lemonade,” when Murph choked on his own spit in the first few seconds of singing, and promptly restarted due to a “hairball,” which garnered big laughs from the crowd. Between “Moving to New York” and “Jump Into The Fog,” they played riffs reminiscent of lift music (or as we call it in the States, elevator music) and joked that their 5th album would solely contain that sound. The crowd screamed loudest, though, when Murph said the word “gritty” in a completely separate context than that of Philadelphia’s newest mascot, but the crowd went wild with Gritty chants regardless.
The most beautiful moment of the night came during “Lethal Combination,” the first song of the encore, during which Murph sang accompanied only by his guitar, and the sweet singing of the crowd. Through sways and friends hugging one another, the audience felt much closer in that moment than they had the rest of the night.
The Wombats ended the night on my favorite track of theirs, and my most played song of all time on Spotify, “Greek Tragedy.” Dancing into the night, The Wombats ended on a high, and made everyone anxious to know when they will return to the U.S., hopefully with another new album in tow.
Cheetah Tongue // Give Me A Try // 1996 // Black Flamingo // White Eyes // Patricia The Stripper // Techno Fan // Emoticons // Lemon to a Knife Fight // I Don’t Know Why I Like U // Bee Sting // Pink Lemonade // Moving to New York // Jump Into The Fog // Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) // Let’s Dance to Joy Division
Encore: Lethal Combination // Turn // Greek Tragedy