On another rainy Minneapolis night, I went to the Fine Line Music Café to finally catch The Wombats after years of waiting. I had tickets to their last tour when they were going to hit First Ave after they released Glitterbug in 2015 but I couldn’t go. Finally, they released Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life in February of this year, now is my chance.
The Wombats are touring with opener, Barns Courtney, another English rockers. Barns has quite a story if you look into him. He started going solo in 2015. Right off the bat his songs “Fire” and “Glitter & Gold” started to gain recognition. Barns then released his EP The Dull Drums early 2017 and is still at work on his debut LP.
In the meantime he has been touring and gaining acclaim for himself, and it’s no wonder why, Barns Courtney has the stage presence of a young Mick Jagger. Very amazing stage act. He’s got a great voice and interacts beautifully with the crowd. He’s a natural.
Even as the opener, at the Fine Line, where you are pushed all the way to the front of the stage, the guy dominates. He introduced his new single “99” that the crowd loved and ended his set by singing and dancing in the middle of a very packed Fine Line. It was a sight.
I actually got to chat with Barns Courtney after his set. He mentioned that he really loves touring with the Wombats because it always blows his mind how much sound can come from three guys. We then chatted about the Japandroids and fan girled a bit. Great guy.
As I said before, I’ve been wanting to see The Wombats for some time. The three piece band hails from England. Matt (guitar, keys), Tord (bass), and Dan (drums). They all do vocals together, which I don’t think I’ve seen before. The drummer has a set up like Vulfpeck or if you wanted an older reference, The Band? Night Ranger?
I’ve really honestly never seen the fine line this packed. Even for sold out this place is jammed. They have a great rock sound, it’s crisp. They made great use of the stage and I’m looking right at the bassist.
I will say that even though their set was louder than most, it was still pretty clean. Bass was clean. Drum kit was clean. It was probably one of the better sounding sets, just from a sound standpoint. They harmonize very well together, make great use of the stage.
At about half way through their set, after their song “Bee Sting”, Matt and Dan have a back and forth about honey, calling it “bee extract”. They have very thick English accents (think The Beatles thick”) and the crowd eats it up. The discussion of honey went on for 5 minutes at least and continued to come back throughout the night. Eventually he went back stage, after the set, and got his phone to google honey. The singer and the drummer just kept talking about honey until the end.
The lead singer’s voice cracked when they jumped into “Pink Lemonade”, they restarted the song with, “that sounded a bit punchy didn’t it?”. He was not hitting the high notes like he normally does it seemed, I’m sure the Minnesota rain didn’t help.
Their music is a solid mix of upbeat pop and solid straight rock and they switch between them seamlessly. Like Pink Lemonade, very poppy, and “Moving to NY”, which is off their first album, is very much rock. There are also songs that have a nice balance, like “Jumping Into the Fog”. Which has been on the radio a bit since it’s release off their previous album. They finished very strong to the screams of the audience when they played their most well-known song “Greek Tragedy”.
The Wombats are an overall great sounding, fun band to watch, and with Barns Courtney opening for them it was a fantastic night full of energy and great music. Be sure to check out The Wombat’s new album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.
1) Cheetah Tongue
2) Give Me A Try
3) Black Flamingo
4) White Eyes
5) Techno Fan
7) Lemon to a Knife Fight
8) I Don’t Know Why I Like You
9) Bee Sting
10) Pink Lemonade
11) Moving to NY
12) Jumping Into the Fog
13) Lethal Combination
14) Let’s Dance to Joy Division
3) Greek Tragedy