WORFDS BY JANET HARDING / IMAGES WARREN MILLAR
‘The Bangers Keep Coming, We Knew They Would Do, And The Feels Keep Going Up’
It’s seems it’s always windy in Liverpool but today the sun is also shining brightly on this musical city, and even more so as we have Liverpool’s very own, the Wombats, headlining tonight. A home town gig is always a good one, and tonight promises to be extra special as it’s the last of a 3 date Liverpool leg and also the end of the UK leg of this latest tour. Things are gonna go off!
In the heart of the University District, facing the stunning Roman Catholic Cathedral (even more spectacular in the sunshine) there’s already a buzz in the air; people are eager for the lively sounds we’ve come to hear. Mountford Hall is easily accessible …a bus stop right outside the door. It has a modern, clean feel to it: a great, spacious bar area and a landscaped outdoor garden area for smoking. The staff here are amazing, very welcoming – big shout out to the stage-side security who were a great help to our photographer, Warren Millar, and myself.
So, we have one epic headliner in the Wombats, but along with that, we’ve a great billing of support acts! Vistas are a much talked about, musical storm of a band and local support comes from Natalie McCool from just down the road in Widnes. It’s looking like one hell of a night!
First Support – Natalie McCool
It’s my first encounter with Widnes based Natalie McCool. She doesn’t disappoint – real commanding stage presence from the moment she arrives up there. In black leather she gives off real cool rock vibes, real guitar driven sounds. Indie, rock, electro, a slight punk edge and even a hint of grunge in some songs. It’s a lively performance from the get go…all band members are bounding around on stage! So much energy is put into this. It’s a great sound, quite retro and reminiscent of 80s electro at times…I get Stranger Things feels through some songs. Natalie’s voice is quite powerhouse. It’s strong, unwavering, far reaching. She has great control and a good range, with a strong solid beat of keys and synth – it’s a really listenable, attention grabbing sound and a brilliant set. Excellent start, you got it going perfectly. I certainly look forward to seeing more of Natalie McCool. For a cool, slightly different electro sound, an indie heart and a real edge to it you can’t go wrong with this. Thank you, Natalie McCool.
Second support – Vistas
Prentice Robertson – vocal/guitar
Dylan Rush – guitar
Jamie Law – bass
So… Scottish, vibrant, indie rock band, Vistas are next, and they positively explode into this performance. Known for thrilling, fast paced, live sets, I can assure you that’s what we’re getting …from the off! Shimmering, glistening, fantastic guitar lines. It’s so bright and high vibrational …it’s like sunlight reflecting off ocean waves of musical sounds. The crowd are bouncing…Vistas seem to have brought a heavy following, deservedly so. This band are on fire! Passion fuelled, very charismatic, these guys ooze cool and style. Musically it’s a very tight, clean sound, it’s fresh, it’s clear…bouncing and exuberant, foot tapping, dance inducing… It’s happy making, it feels familiar, real listenable songs. The vocals are even and full, at times the Scottish accent comes through and it works brilliantly. Original, ‘must hear again’ material. The feels in here have gone up a level. It’s bouncing now…the heat is soaring, one epic, nonstop, energetic, fascinating performance! This band are great. And I will certainly be seeing them …fact… I might have a new fav band (yeah, I know…another one!) Go see Vistas…you won’t be sorry!! Completely smashed it up and then some…wow…thanks guys!
1/ Start again.
2/ Tiger Blood.
4/ The love you give.
5/ What were you hoping to find?
6/ 15 years.
Headline – The Wombats
Matthew Murphy – lead vocals/guitar/keys
Tord Overland Knudsen – bass/keys /backing vocals
Dan Haggis – drums/keys/backing vocals
Liverpool’s own 3 piece, indie rock band and creators of gig chaos, the Wombats, are up next. Humidity levels are soaring, the anticipation can be felt. This venue is now jam packed, full capacity, wall to wall bodies. As the lights come up the crowd goes off, the screams, applause and overall noise level just went through the roof. Beer is being thrown like never before. Opening with ‘Flip me upside down’, the flames of excitement are well and truly being fanned. It’s a really retro feel on stage with the set, very 80s, but a real gaming feel; the drum platform is like a giant Rubik’s cube and there are coloured walls of lighting as a back drop. It all coincides with the album imagery and is so effective. Released in January of this year, entitled ‘Fix yourself, not the world’, the fifth studio album from the Wombats and peaking at number one in the UK charts, it’s been very well received both by critics and fans. Of course the Wombats are well known for their original brand of indie rock genius, quirky, upbeat and danceable, witty, observational and somewhat unusual lyrics which reflect the times written. Songs like ‘Kill the director ‘…that unforgettable and anthemic ‘Bridget Jones’ hook and ‘Moving to New York’ have become iconic.
A musical storm of vast proportions has broken inside Mountford Hall tonight. Everyone is now bouncing, the energy is off the scale and this set is on another level. The Wombats are giving an abundance of energy, bassist Tord (Overland Krudsen) is leaping, flying kicking, jumping around that stage. The vocal is perfection – clear, well executed…that familiar Scouse accent which lends itself to this musical genre so perfectly. Matthew’s (Murphy’s) is a steady, low vocal, but loud – it carries, it reaches out and grabs our attention…shouted parts and the counting down sections, which the crowd enthusiastically join in with. As a band the musicianship is excellent – concise, clear, crisp. It’s fizzing sounds, a real vibrancy, rich textures and superbly sing along. Of course the obvious fan favourites and crowd pleasers take us up and up even further – that already mentioned hook from ‘Kill the Director’ creates a tidal wave of bouncing bodies in a stormy, musical moshpit. Arms raised, hands in the air… everyone in the house is chanting back “This is no Bridget Jones, this is no Bridget Bridget’…what an immense energy? It’s amazing to be a part of, it’s wild…a guy just asked us had we seen his shoe. I can confirm – shoes were lost at this gig! I think that alone conveys the madness on an epic scale going on in here tonight. But that’s the power of music, good music, anthemic tunes and a bloody good live band…you honestly can’t beat it!
The bangers keep coming, we knew they would do, and the feels keep going up. It’s been one epic, brimming full of content set…we’ve had an appearance onstage from ‘Wombat’, playing the trumpet…only to be expected as a true staple and much loved tradition at the Wombats’ live sets.
Ending on the biggest high, with a shower of multicoloured foil confetti, this band managed to go out with as big a bang as they began this set. It’s been a great night, the energy, feels and passion have been unwavering – banging tunes, every one as good as each other. An unforgettable and genuine performance, great interaction and a hungry crowd! Truly you smashed this homecoming gig and then some. The zany brand of music, magic and mayhem this band creates is something very special and well worth seeing. A gig I’ll never forget, excellent work! Thank you, the outstanding Wombats.
1/ Flip me Upside down.
2/ This Car drives all by itself.
3/ Moving to New York.
4/ Cheetah Tongue.
5/ Give me a Try.
6/ Ready for the High.
7/ Techno Fan.
8/ Pink Lemonade.
9/ Everything I love is going to die.
11/ Kill the Director.
12/ People don’t change people, time does.
13/ Jump into the Fog.
15/ Lemon to a Knife fight.
16/ Lethal Combination.
17/ Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves).
18/ If you ever leave, I’m coming with you.
19/ Greek Tragedy.
20/ Method to the Madness.
21/ Let’s Dance to Joy Division.
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FOLLOW NATALIE McCOOL
Warren is a live music and festival photographer based in Cheshire and covers gigs/festivals mostly in the North West of England. He has been photographing live music for over 10 years and has covered major artists and festivals