Review: The Wombats – The Limelight, Belfast
In their first Northern Irish show since 2011, the Wombats performed to a sold out crowd in Limelight in promotion of their new album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’. The Scouse indie rock band, like many of their noughties counterparts (such as the Kooks and the Courteeners) have experienced a major resurgence as of late, with the packed Tuesday night crowd being testament to this.
The bill didn’t just offer the Wombats, as much of the crowd arrived early to witness two of British indie rock’s most promising up and coming bands in Bloxx and The Night Café. The former kicked the night off with an energetic set packed full of infectious indie pop. Many of the outright pop songs in their arsenal (Novacain being a particular standout track) could be likened to some of the biggest names in the genre, such as Sundara Karma. The potential of the London-based, female-fronted band is clear to see, and with some major festival appearances in the summer, there is no doubt there are big things to come for Bloxx.
With the crowd continuing to fill out, it was the turn of highly rated scousers The Night Cafe to take the stage. The band’s sound is massively distinctive, with each song in the set flowing seamlessly into the next, each track sounding like a future indie anthem. Amidst a massively impressive set, the most memorable moments arose when vocalist Sean Martin was able to show off his abilities. After witnessing such a mature and impressive set, it’s astonishing how the band has only really started to gain traction outside of hometown Liverpool recently, and are bound to become one of the biggest indie acts around.
The atmosphere which had amassed throughout the support acts finally culminated when the headline act opened their set with their new single ‘Cheetah Tongue’. The crowd responded instantly to the new material and were raring from the start. The band started the set energetically, and this only continued with fan favourites such as ‘Give Me a Try’ and ‘1996’, with every member of the crowd singing every word back to lead singer Murph.
What stood out regarding the set was the response of the crowd to almost every song played on the setlist, with more or less every track being treated as an anthem. Standout tracks included new tracks ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’ and ‘Lethal Combination’, which just one month after the release of the album are regarded as classics by much of the band’s fan base.
The crowd erupted when breakout single ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ began, with Murph claiming they would ‘pretend’ it was the last song. As soon as the lyrics were uttered, Limelight broke into a full scale party (complete with balloons and costumed dancing wombats). The atmosphere for the band’s most iconic single was immense, with the chorus still being belted out as the band went off stage.
When the band re-emerged the party within the crowd continued and the energy of the crowd peaked. Arguably the most popular song from the latest album ‘Turn’ continued the party, with ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves’) knocking the show up yet another gear. The show finished on a high with hit single ‘Greek Tragedy’, with it’s anthemic chorus providing the perfect end to a frantic night.
After such a thoroughly enjoyable show, It was clear to see why the Wombats are regarded as one of the biggest names in indie music. We can only hope the 7 year gap between Belfast shows isn’t repeated, especially given the clear demand.