It was one of those nights, after a long exhausting day, where it would have been easier to just stay on the couch rather than head out on a Tuesday night. After my brain had a little chat with my body, my body was convinced to head out to the show that had been on my calendar since the day it was announced. So with a Red Bull in one hand and car keys in another I headed to Upstate Concert Hall to see one of my favorite British Pop bands, the Wombats.
The last time the band visited Albany, it was at a packed house at The Hollow Bar + Kitchen so I was interested to see how big the crowd would be in the larger room. It might not have been sold out but there was a healthy crowd in attendance.
Right out of the gate the Wombats served up two of their radio faves, “Give Me a Try” from the current “Glitterbug” album and “Jump Into The Fog” from their second album “The Modern Glitch.”
This is the point of the show where I realized that the Wombats are better live than on record, and that I was so glad I got my butt off of the couch!
The bright sound and anthem like choruses that make up The Wombats’ catalogue lend themselves perfectly to a live show.
The Wombats continued to play song after song to the energized crowd with bass player, Tord Knudsen moving around the stage uncontrollably like he was gliding on a wire. In fact, The Wombats may work as hard and with as much passion as I’ve ever seen. The band’s front man, Mathew Murphy delivered his vocals, guitar and keyboard parts flawlessly all while trying to regain his breath and switch instruments between songs. But my title of “Secret Weapon” (all good bands have one) goes to drummer Dan Haggis. He may be all the way in the back but his backing vocals along with his solid beat (great drum sound at the Concert Hall) and keyboard work, seemed to hold it all together.
The Wombats entire set was easily digested because of its pop sensibility. The crowd was living proof as they responded to everything during the 14-song set. The encore was just as impressive including three songs and an outro jam that I think was more for the band than the audience. First, Murphy came out to do a solo version of “Isabel,” one of my favorites of the night. And then the crowd favorite of the night, “Greek Tragedy,” lit the room on fire and it kept on burning right through the closing “Let’s Dance to Joy Division,” the band’s first single from almost ten years ago. Ten years, five singles in heavy rotation… .No Greek tragedy here.
The openers, Coast Modern from LA are still searching for their “Secret Weapon.”