From Liverpool to Albany The Wombats play a sold out show at The Hollow
By Julia Day
Arts & Entertainment Editor
May 5, 2015
“So I’m moving to New York cause I’ve got problems with my sleep, looks like Christmas came early, Christmas came early for me,” lead vocalist Matthew Murphy belts into the microphone.
Christmas certainly came early for fans of The Wombats, who “moved to New York” while stopping on their tour to rock downtown Albany.
The Wombats, an English indie rock band originating from Liverpool, played to a sold out crowd this past weekend at The Hollow Bar + Kitchen on Friday, May 1 to promote their new album, “Glitterbug.” Albany is one of many stops for the band on their international tour, playing in the United States, Canada, Australia, and all over Europe.
The Wombats formed in 2003 at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, where band members Matthew Murphy, Dan Haggis, and Tord Overland Knudsen all met. During the first years of their formation the band released a number of EPs, as well as an album titled “Girls, Boys and Marsupials,” exclusively in Japan.
The band released their album “A Guide to Love, Loss, and Desperation,” in 2007 to successful reviews, reaching #11 on the UK Albums Chart. This was followed by “This Modern Glitch,” in 2011 moving up to #3 on the UK Albums Chart.
After four years, their long anticipated album “Glitterbug,” was released on April 13, 2015. With three new hit singles “Your Body is a Weapon,” “Greek Tragedy,” and “Give Me a Try,” The Wombats are back bigger than ever.
“They say your first album is luck, your second is a rebellion and your third is what defines you,” Murphy said in a press release. “As proud as I am of the first two albums, I think Glitterbug will be what defines The Wombats.”
The line was out the door as eager fans waited to enter The Hollow in downtown Albany. As concert goers began trickling into the small, intimate venue, Pennsylvania indie pop band Cheerleader gave an energetic opening act. Having formed in 2012, the band will be releasing their debut album later this year titled “Sunshine of Your Youth.” Cheerleader played songs from their EP “On Your Side,” as well as material from their new album.
Cheerleader proved themselves to be an entertaining opening act. “Sunshine of Your Youth” was the song that stood out the most, with a catchy guitar intro that’s bound to stick in your head. Their act showcased the band’s talent and future potential as they continue to tour the United States with The Wombats.
Northeast radio station WEQX 102.7, affectionately known as “The Real Alternative,” had one of their jockeys at the event. As the stage was being prepped in between acts, WEQX jockey Keller thanked both Cheerleader and The Wombats for coming to play in Albany.
The intimate venue was packed to capacity as fans waited for The Wombats to take the stage. The Hollow, although small, provided a clear view of the stage from whichever vantage point concert goers stood.
As the lights dimmed and The Wombats took the stage, the crowd went wild. The band immediately started off the set with one of their latest singles from “Glitterbug,” “Your Body is a Weapon.” The enthusiasm for the band’s new material was apparent as fans clapped and danced along to the first song.
The Wombats went on to play a fresh mix of songs both old and new from all three albums, including fan favorites “Moving to New York,” “Jump Into the Fog,” “Kill the Director,” “Headspace,” and others. The band truly gave an amazing performance, with some songs sounding better live than they do recorded. During one of their slower renditions “Little Miss Pipedream,” Murphy’s headlining voice mixed with background vocals from Haggis and Knudsen gave a soothing dreamlike lull that will never have the same effect on the album as it does live.
In between songs, The Wombats’ humorous interjections and on stage banter gave a true look into the band members’ likable personalities.
“That actually wasn’t that bad,” joked drummer Dan Haggis after a song.
During more banter, Murphy went on to start talking about the television phenomenon, “Breaking Bad.”
“Does anyone in this room know someone who doesn’t like ‘Breaking Bad?’ Because I don’t think they exist,” said Murphy.
The band members went on to discuss doing something “weird” for their fans, which then led Murphy to carry his microphone down into the audience as they sung their next song. Fans eagerly took out their phones to record Murphy as he sung among the crowd members.
The Wombats made constant references to their merchandise seller named Grossman, standing at the merchandise table not far from the stage. The band members alerted the audience that it was Grossman’s birthday, rousing them to sing him happy birthday to which they happily complied.
Ending their set with the synth-heavy “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves),” the audience cried out for an encore. The Wombats went on to perform two more songs, “Emoticons” from their new album, and finally the song the audience had all been waiting for “Let’s Dance to Joy Division.” This fan favorite sent the audience bouncing off their feet and into the air, dancing their pants off. There was definitely no better way to have ended the night.
The Wombats not only gave a stellar performance, but also put on an interactive and exciting audience experience.
“The Wombats did not waste a single moment on stage to share their unique energy with the audience,” said University at Albany student Sarah Sabin. “In between songs they engaged in good-humored banter between the crowd as if talking to a group of old friends.”
With fresh material from “Glitterbug” along with classics from previous albums, there is no doubt that their success will continue to grow. The Wombats gave an outstanding performance in Albany this past weekend, satisfying fans both old and new.