New drinking game, stand in line for The Wombats and take a shot every time you hear the word ‘splendour’, you’ll be fucked before doors open. Obviously the crowd was still running on leftover festival vibes. A shameless eavesdropper, most of the conversations I listened in on consisted of comparisons between acts seen, and the quality of The Wombats own set. For an all ages gig, the drinks were aplenty and punters were perhaps too eager, with two medics being sent into the GA area before the show had even begun. It’s the kind of exhilaration you only catch at post-festival shows.
Support act Circa Waves mirrored the audience’s energy to a T the moment they took the stage. High energy feels like an understatement in describing their set, they had the arena thriving at less than quarter capacity.
Hits off their debut album, Young Chasers, were warmly received by the crowd, most notably So Long Fossils, which prompted an emotive sing along out of the audience. They eclipsed their set with T Shirt Weather, a song that had even myself, an avid winter fan longing for summer.
If there’s a better support act that The Wombats could have selected from the Splendour line-up, I certainly can’t think of them. The band was the ideal warm up, the audience even screaming ‘No!’, upon the closure of the bands short, but sweet set.
In the interim between the two sets, I was concerned that the switch over from The Palais Theatre to the considerably larger, and less intimate Margaret Court Arena bode bad news for The Wombats. The venue wasn’t empty, but there was plenty of space to be filled. My concerns were quashed as soon as I came back to my seat however, thousands of late arrivals had taken their place, and the show looked close to a sell out.
The last time I visited Margaret Court was for Demi Lovato (not by my own will, I assure you), and the audience tonight was triple the size it was for the Disney starlet. The feeling of ridiculous enthusiasm from punters was felt all through the arena, and the moment The Wombats took their place on the stage, a collective scream of joy ensued, and continued for the duration of their set. I had high expectations for the band, expectations that were met and exceeded within minutes.
Your Body Is a Weapon felt a fitting opener, picking right up from where Circa Waves left off. Their high pace and stupendous energy didn’t cease, not once, throughout the entire hour and a half. Creative interludes between songs allowed for not one boring moment, and as Matthew Murphy cried that ‘I’ve just had the craziest week’, in Moving To New York it was almost as though the crowd was nodding in agreement.
The love between artists and audience was felt by all, drummer Dan Haggis noted that Australia was like ‘a home away from home’, a statement Murphy later reiterated, ‘we should probably move here or something, it’s where brunch is the best meal of the day’.
The highlight of the night, at least for me, was surprisingly not the celebrated Joy Division, but Little Miss Pipedream. Fans held up their iPhone flashlights and lighters, while Murphy sung his heart out, it was a touching few minutes.
The time that we had with The Wombats felt like mere moments, an encore was inevitable. The band took off again with a cry of ‘why the fuck not’, and finishing off the night with a round of Emoticons, the never disappointing Joy Division and a surprising, but wholly enjoyable take on Killing in The Name Of.
If you missed out, there’s no need to stress, as Murphy proudly announced, ‘according to my inbox, we’re gonna be back a lot sooner than you think’. I know I’ll be there.