The Wombats: Ally Pally

Lets talk about last Tuesday: the best gig I have been to so far. Yes, I know I say that a lot, but I can’t help picking progressively good gigs each time.

London bound for the first time in a little while, the day began how I had hoped it wouldn’t: major train delays, a complete closure of London Victoria (typically, my intended destination) and, without a doubt the biggest mistake of my life, I had left the premeditated journey snacks at home. So after having to travel to a different station to get a different train to a different station, the stress began to simmer down, despite being just under an hour late. Bloody trains.

We were now on our way to London Waterloo and my girlfriend, my only accomplice for this one, had fallen asleep within about five minutes. This didn’t prove an issue to me. At least not until the journey dragged on for an hour longer than we had been ruthlessly promised by the South West staff. Again, bloody trains. I didn’t have the balls to wake her up though; I would’ve had more chance of surviving walking through a cage full of lions wearing Lady Gaga’s meat dress. It also turns out that I didn’t have the ability to wake her up, either. About an hour later when we were meters away from the final station, I thought it would’ve been best not to leave her on the train. So I shook her gently. Then a bit harder. A bit harder again. Nothing. “Wake up.” Nothing. After checking her pulse, I shook her, like a maraca player on Speed. “You could have woken me up nicer!” *Sigh*

Looking like foreign exchange students on a day trip, we made our way to the tube station, smacking everyone in a 5 mile radius with our backpacks. We explored the city for a little while, topped up on food in Bill’s Diner (yes, go there, it’s amazing) and then decided to check in at our hotel. The Roseview Hotel, to be exact; a tidy little place in coalition with Alexandra Palace, a mere 10 minute walk away. We were running quite late for the gig at this point, and being the idiot I am, I planned around the doors opening at 7pm. They opened at half 6. Shit.

As it happens every time, we somehow managed to get to the stage by 7, missing only the first song of the first warm up band. BLOXX, who were completing the whole tour with The Wombats, christened the stage in front of a half full Ally Pally. Having seen them before, I was excited for my girlfriend to watch them live. She was very much a fan before, however; I had made sure of that. We both loved their performance. I particularly enjoyed hearing their newest release, Novocain, having not seen that one live before. I was particularly impressed with their new drummer. I mean, he might well have been the old one, but if this was the case then I want to know what anti-wrinkle cream he is using. The bloke looked about 12! But, he did smash it (not a drum pun), so who am I to judge?

Swiftly afterwards, The Night Café picked up their instruments and began their set with their tune Felicity. Also touring with The Wombats for the entire tour, it was clear to see why they were selected. Their catchy music, sounding even better live than through my earphones, won over the crowd. The girls at the front, not far away from us, borderline swooned over them, so they can’t be bad, right? The only improvement I would like to suggest to them, is that when they tour anywhere outside of their home town, they should bring a translator. The Liverpudlian accent was so strong, and much like all of the Merseyside people, spit was flying everywhere. It’s a shame I had to leave my umbrella in the cloakroom…

Nonetheless, The Night Café were far better than I had expected. Every song had the crowd ecstatic (apart from Addiction, which seemed to last longer than the extended version of The Titanic.) But we weren’t upset to see the back of them. Because now, The Wombats were about to come on stage. I hadn’t been this excited for a gig ever. Both buzzing, me and my girlfriend stood amongst what seemed an entire nation worth of people.

I can’t explain in words how incredible The Wombats are live. After initially stopping the first two songs for inconsiderate bastards passing out in the front row, they smoothly continued throughout the show, playing all of their greatest tunes. They have a lot, and although slightly upset that they missed out Reynolds Park and English Summer, both of us (and the whole crowd) were left mesmerised by what we/they had just witnessed. Enormous confetti cannons, balloons big enough to be space hoppers for giraffes and several people dressed as wombats pretending to shag the band members; why wouldn’t it be a night to remember?

With an hour queuing for both the merch stand and the cloakroom plus a 15 minute walk back, intervened for a food stop, we were still hyped by the insane gig we had just witnessed. And this was my girlfriends first. How lucky.

I hope to see The Wombats again soon. They were ridiculously good.

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