Review by Calum Upton
The Roundhouse, London 16/07/11
A lot of people seem to go to iTunes Festival as an opportunity to hang out in the Roundhouse for a bit, or maybe it’s for the pretty lanyards. Either way not everyone seemed very excited about the music about to happen. But they would be!
The first thing I noticed was the age range of the audience, which at a free show always leads me to wonder how many are actually fans, and how many non-fans will stay to the end. I’m pleased to say the venue only seemed to get more full as the set went on. Their happiness and energy was highly infectious; it’s refreshing to see a band actually enjoying themselves and having the performance talent to pass that enjoyment onto a mixed audience. Of course the songs lend themselves perfectly to this experience, with ample opportunity for sing-alongs and hand claps!
Musically it was an impressive but relaxed performance, living up to their reputation as a great live band. The Wombats in 2011 are indie pop’s version of anarchy come of age; Northern wit and cheek intact, no songs much over 4 minutes, but a sense of musical accomplishment and ease. Similarly this year’s album The Wombats Proudly Present: This Modern Glitch hasn’t really marked a stylistic change, but a refinement of their style.
The ability to get people who clearly had very little prior knowledge of the band to stay to the end of the encore, and learn the words/sing along to the last chorus of Let’s Dance To Joy Division at the end of a long show, is surely the ultimate achievement for a live act. The proper fans (both sexes and aged anywhere between 15 and 55!) seemed pretty pleased too.
About 20 seconds after the music ended evacuation began… it was so hot in there! But nobody had realised. Truly great live performers that are definitely here to stay. Except when they’re jetting around the world on tour.