Gig Review by David Stone with Photography by Jessica Stone

A relentlessly energetic crowd jumped, danced and screamed their way into the weekend as The Wombats brought their sold out UK tour to Birmingham’s O2 Institute on 23rd March!

The Liverpudlian trio are halfway through a trip around the UK and Ireland, taking them to over a dozen venues in support of their new album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.

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You know you’re in for a good night when you walk through the doors to find a buzz in the air and the crowd already showing love for the opening act. That’s a testament to the performance put on by BLOXX, who filled the room with a set of fresh sounding tracks that captured the spirit of 2000s indie/alt rock.

The female-fronted four piece pulled a decent crowd for early doors, getting them moving with standout tracks including Novocain and You.

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The Night Café were up next, a band that oozes the kind of effortless, laid back cool that makes their music seem all the more mellow as the riffs and melodies reverberate around the room. With tracks like Mixed Signals and Addicted, TNC gave us music to bop, sway and daydream to, providing a perfect lead-in to tonight’s headliners.

Then it was time to awaken the sleeping Wombat! The headliners took to the stage and dove straight into the new material, opening with Cheetah Tongue before turning back the clock a little for Give Me A Try and 1996.

Performed live, even the band’s slower paced material gains extra pep and becomes instantly danceable, bringing the dancefloor to a frenzy from the very first chorus of Cheetah Tongue to a huge pop for Kill the Director, only taking a break to attempt to give back a shoe thrown onto the stage!

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The Wombats continued through a thoughtfully arranged set, spacing out new tracks amongst their back catalogue of hits and most popular album tracks. Techno Fan, Jump Into the Fog and Moving to New York earned huge reactions over and above the baseline buzz, all the while backed by a beautifully designed video backdrop that had perfectly-paced (and often super-cute) animations that fit each song to a T.

One last visit to the new stuff in the main set for Lethal Combination, before a rather honest introduction to their ‘fake last song’ Let’s Dance to Joy Division brought out a trio of dancing wombats and a rain of giant balloons to wrap things up with a bang!

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Rapturous applause, followed by fans returning some tongue-in-cheek honesty in the form of a ‘Three more songs!’ chant, and the band returned to provide them just that. Turn and Tokyo -Vampires & Wolves led into Greek Tragedy to close out the night.

The Wombats put on an incredible show – both in their own polished and beautifully accentuated performance and their choice of two well-matched support acts to get the night started. If you’ve missed out on tickets for this tour, they’re well worth a look next time around.

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Setlist: Cheetah Tongue / Give Me a Try / 1996 / Kill the Director / Black Flamingo / White Eyes / Techno Fan / Emoticons / Lemon to a Knife Fight / I Don’t Know Why I Like You but I Do / Pink Lemonade / Moving to New York / Jump Into the Fog / Lethal Combination / Let’s Dance to Joy Division Encore: Turn / Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) / Greek Tragedy

See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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