TVD Live: The Wombats at Park West, 4/30

I have been a fan of The Wombats since I first heard the acapella opening track of A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation when it hit the states in 2008. With that said I have no problem admitting that there was a period of skepticism following their sophomore release and the accompanying shift in style. However, less than a year after the release of This Modern Glitch, I’m officially a believer in the power of dual synths.

I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing the Liverpool trio before, so I was definitely pumped for the headlining gig at Park West in Chicago on Monday. Knowing that they’d be playing heavily from their latest release, I buckled down and in a few short weeks, found myself addicted to This Modern Glitch.

Now, armed with a deep appreciation for the entire Wombats catalog, I grabbed fellow TVD Chicago writer, Patrick David, and we headed into the city.

Neither of us had ever had the pleasure of visiting Park West before, and I have to say that the venue is immaculate. The vibe plays more like an old jazz bar, with small booths and tables on tiers in a half-circle in front of the stage. It did well for a rock show, but I imagine that someone like Regina Spektor would be much more at home in its setup.

We grabbed a few beers and a table, and watched the opening acts. Kicking off the show was Flagship, and they eased the crowd in with an ambient electro vibe. Static Jacks set the stage for The Wombats and brought the energy way up in the slowly crowding pit.

As the stage was being set, we left the safety of our booth and wandered up into the crowd. The Wombats started their set with the opening track from This Modern Glitch, “Our Perfect Disease,” and from there played a damn near perfect mix of songs from their first and second releases. The crowd created a very odd dynamic, as it was clear almost immediately that most people only knew tracks from one album or the other.

I can safely say that I have not seen three people fill a stage like The Wombats, and bassist, Tord, can take a good majority of the credit for that. Between their standard instruments, supplemental synths, backup vocals, and handclaps, the trio had absolutely no issue recreating live the full sounds on their records.

One of the specific highlights for me was the Modern Glitch track, “Techno Fan.” Easily one of their most danceable tracks to date, it was definitely one of the high energy points for the night, rivaled only by the encore.

After a well-received string of tracks from their debut including “My First Wedding” which features the chant-at-the-top-of-your-lungs line “she’s not that beautiful, she’s not that beautiful!”, The Wombats ended their main set with the impossibly catchy single “Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves).”

After the melodic “Anti-D” to kick off the encore, the show was appropriately ended with “Let’s Dance to Joy Division.” Mass chaos ensued. It was incredible. If you are a fan of quirky pop music with a Liverpool twist and have a chance to see The Wombats live in concert, do so.

Setlist:
Our Perfect Disease
Kill the Director
Girls/Fast Cars
Jump Into the Fog
Schumacher the Champagne
Techno Fan
Last Night I Dreamt
Lost in the Post
1996
Little Miss Pipedream
Moving to New York
My First Wedding
Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)
Encore:
Anti-D
Let’s Dance to Joy Division

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