Liverpool Indie-rock trio The Wombats recently embarked on a winter North American tour that will see them headline a number of dates before joining Weezer and The Pixies on their summer 2018 co-headline tour. The tour kicked off just prior to the release of their fourth album, BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE, set to drop on February 9th. We were beyond thrilled to catch the band early into their run at a sold-out Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro NC.
The crowd at Cat’s Cradle can sometimes be a bit cool and aloof… with plenty of show goers arriving late. That was certainly not the case on this particular Monday night, as the room was already plenty full when openers Nation Of Language took the stage. The Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio kicked off the evening with a set of post-punk and new wave brooding that proudly displayed influences from early New Order and Joy Division. Their songs felt both oddly familiar yet fresh and new… regardless, they were intoxicating, and the building crowd was loud and appreciative.
Stepping into the second spot and leading in to the Wombats fell to LA-based electro-pop outfit Courtship. The duo, consisting of Eli Hirsch and Micah Gordon were joined on stage by a bass player and drummer, creating a live rhythm section that added a solid throbbing undercurrent to their blissful sun-soaked electronic indie-pop. There were hooks galore as Courtship played through a feel-good infectiously danceable set. The now solidly packed Cat’s Cradle crowd were loving every minute of it. The fun lighthearted vibes were well-received, and the room quickly evolved into a pulsating dance party.
With the crowd still amped and smiling from Courtship’s playful and jubilant set, the excitement was palpable when the lights dropped for the Wombats. Rather than the band immediately taking the stage, the crowd was first greeted by a dancing Wombat who introduced the band before frontman Matthew Murphy, drummer Dan Haggis, and bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen strode onto the stage and kicked off with “Cheetah Tongue,” the lead-off track from forthcoming album, BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE. After a taste of the new album, the band reached into their recent catalog for “Give Me A Try,” followed by “1996”. With each subsequent song, the band seemed to find another gear… Recently released single “Lemon To a Knife Fight” was ferociously delivered and met with roaring applause from the packed house. The crowd, consisting of both veteran fans and newbies, found standing still difficult. By the time the Wombats launched into fan favorite “Moving To New York,” the entire Cradle was singing along and dancing/bouncing as one. It truly was a sight to see and even better to join in… The set closed out with “Pink Lemonade” and “Jump Into The Fog,” before ending with a spirited “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” that left the band and their fans locked in an enraptured embrace. The crowd was positively bonkers as the Wombats left the stage. Murph, Dan and Tord would return for a trio of encores, the first of which, newest single “Turn,” was met with such loud applause that Murph seemed taken aback as he sincerely thanked the crowd. The show closed out with “Tokyo,” followed by “Greek Tragedy”. The Wombats are solid musicians who seem to love what they do, their hook-laden songs, energetic delivery, and broad smiles are contagious.
Catching a band on tour can be life-affirming, soul-crushing, or somewhere in between. There are rare occasions when a band seems to clicking on all cylinders and the crowd feeds on the building electricity, radiating the energy back at the band. The connection between band and crowd creates an emotional spiral that continues to build to a joyous crescendo. The Wombats show at the Cradle was one of those occasions. Everything just clicked. The Wombats are a band that is criminally underrated… Check out their catalog and go seem them live if you get the chance!
The Wombats + Courtship + Nation Of Language @ Cats Cradle – January 15th 2018