It was evident last night that Splendour In The Grass had got the better of The Wombats and their fans who were still kicking-on from the three-day festival. The Wombats appeared exhausted but played hard amid a backdrop of flickering strobe lights.
At times their sound was awfully disjointed but the three-piece used this energy — or lack thereof — to bring something new to their back catalogue. Jump Into The Fog was unrecognisable as it started, with an intro of fat bass lines and an out-of-time synth keyboard slotted in messily. Frontman Matthew Murphy looked dishevelled and had an air of Robert Smith’s “I don’t give a fuck, I’m a rockstar” attitude. Guitarist Tord Øverland Knudsen swept energetically across the stage alongside the drone camera that recorded the set; a little ambitious to air a live set in the aftermath of Splendour.
The first address to the needy crowd was followed by a massive stuff-up in the track Greek Tragedy,which was sheepishly admitted, laughed off and then repeated four tracks later. Apparently this was a consequence of ‘”live music” and we should be thankful that we “were not at home, listening to the record and scratching our sacks” — nice segue.
The back-end of the set evolved into a much tighter arrangement, with Murphy belting out high notes of conviction as he delivered his famously awkward lyrics of romantic vulnerability. Overall, the set was far from polished with uncomfortable stuff-ups and some experimental sounds that hurt the ear drums, but The Wombats channelled their exhausted energy into an honest and fair set of 17 tracks that a packed Hordern Pavilion lapped up. Finishing on Let’s Dance To Joy Division they jumped into the crowd, fumbled their way back on stage and played an outro that sounded as heavy and anarchic as Killing In The Name Of, an unorthodox set proving you can’t pigeon-hole them and they ain’t conforming to anyone’s expectations — or even their own set list’s.