LIVE REVIEW: The Wombats @ Red Hill Auditorium
Despite playing in an open air stadium, The Wombats filled every ounce of the stunning Red Hill Auditorium with their Scouse accents and iconic sound.
Kicking the show off at around 8pm was Eves Karydas, with her vocals and alternative sound setting the scene and providing a tease of what was to come. Heading into the event, the extent of my knowledge extended only as far as knowing her name. This left a clean slate for her to make a mark on me, and boy did she deliver. Her voice caressed all ears as she played through a banging set including songs such as ‘There for You’ and ‘Hush’. Perhaps the most significant part of her set was the vibe and genuineness she brought, which truly set the tone of the night and got me bopping early.
Following Eves Karydas was the Australian alt-rock band, Cloud Control. Eager to bring some more energy to the night, they kicked off with an energetic rendition of ‘Rainbow City’. As more and more people flocked into the mosh, Cloud Control used the growing energy and anticipation to fuel both their own music and the growing hype surrounding the upcoming main act, which encouraged the crowd to engage in the event and make some noise. It was around this period they decided to provide us lucky viewers with a cover of a classic Cranberries song, ‘Dreams’, where they ably put their own spin on it and did it justice at the same time.
After what seemed like a wait and a half, The Wombats finally took the stage. Due to the long wait, it was personally a bit make-or-break for me at this stage; my attention now focusing on whether they could bring the energy required to live up to the high expectations and boiling anticipation built up earlier in the night.
Fortunately, they delivered. Big time.
The opening note rang, resonating throughout the venue with the crowd roaring. The Wombats obliged with a powerful response in what was perhaps the best rendition of ‘Cheetah Tongue’ I’ve heard them perform. Not willing to let the energy stop there, they continued with a live debut of ‘Ice Cream’ and blended their older tunes perfectly with their 2018 album, ‘Beautiful People Ruin Your Life’. Good vibes, dancing, sing-a-longs and colours — hats off to those working the lighting for doing a brilliant job — filled the night with even a sporadic joke from Matthew Murphy finding its way into the schedule.
In a common yet ever reliable move for musicians, they held off on some their most demanded songs until later in the night. After a softer solo acoustic version of ‘Lethal Combination’ by lead singer/guitarist Matthew Murphy, they juxtaposed it brilliantly with a trio of bangers to finish the night in ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’, ‘Turn’ and finally, ‘Greek Tragedy’.
Starting out this night, I had always enjoyed a song of The Wombats from time to time, but this concert is likely to see them leap directly into my ‘Recently Played’ list on Spotify. With the opening acts doing an incredible job to set the right tone, and despite the abnormally long wait for the main act to get on stage, both the audience and I were swept up in The Wombats’ music and stage presence.