Audiences in New York always flock to see the latest band that has journeyed over from the UK to try and impress our stodgy masses. Wednesday night at The Annex, the band du jour turned out to be prepared for that responsibility on every level. Watching The Wombats, one goes through the mental check list that usually accompanies the newest British bands’ performance: cheeky banter? check. awkward story about a night out at a pub that went awry? check. schoolboy love song? check. incredibly tight performance? check. They are a hyper mix of what would happen if Bloc Party met Alex Turner down some dodgy alley for a tongue and cheek dance-off. Simply put, the three of them play their instruments fast and forcibly, with impeccable timing. Their songs are a bit more on the pop side than sharp tongued Turner’s, but do not let this trick you. Matthew Murphy (aka The Dog) on vocals, guitar, and keyboards, Tord (aka The Fox) on bass and vocals, and Dan (aka The Rat) on drums and vocals, all seem to be pulling a laugh and just having fun — but they know exactly what they are doing.
The threesome met at infamous art school LIPA and ever since have been brewing up plans to venture out of Liverpool and slowly take over the world and they have the skills to make just that happen. Their three part harmonies, delivered in their ballads with such honeyed perfection, allow you to enjoy their rowdy school boy charm on stage. Matthew and Tord sport matching red guitar straps, toothy grins and shoulder the job of teasing the audience into clapping, counting and shouting at their whim. Inviting a crowd of New Yorkers to waltz is a plucky feat and pulling off your dream gig after four years of playing is just pure brilliance.
Crowd favorites were “Backfire at the Disco,” and “Kill the Director” which i think have some of the best lyrics and will definitely be gaining more attention as we head into the fall season. Matthew ended the eleven song set stating how him and his crew had been playing for four years now and it had taken them this long to play a gig in New York City. With that introduction the crowd went crazy acknowledging that they were going to play “Moving to New York” as their closing number. We New Yorkers love to have our egos fed by songs about our great city, especially by the latest great export from Liverpool.
Here’s a video shot by Sound Bites of “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” from the show: