The Wombats + Magic Wands + The Blakes @ Birmingham Academy – 10th May


Hot, sweaty, sweat, heat, dripping. HOT! Just a few words I feel sum up tonight’s show. But don’t let me give you the wrong impression. The night was an absolute success.

First support act The Blakes take to the stage with a certain swagger. Consisting of brothers Snow and Garnet, and drummer Bob, The Blakes play thirty minutes of true garage rock. A genre quite apart to that of this evening’s headline act The Wombats, who certainly seem to of had a much more comfortable upbringing to that of The Blakes.


Next on the bill were quirky two piece, The Magic Wands. This pair may have needed to create a little more abracadabra for tonight’s performance however, as the crowd were perhaps a little un-prepared for their unusual, but impressive and innovative set.

Entering the stage with their oversized “magical” lion Sylvester, you would initially be led to think that the wombat driven crowd would take to such a gimmick. But no! The songs they present just don’t seem to capture many people’s minds.


Fantastical guitars and reverberating vocals complete The Magic Wand’s sound. Tracks such as ‘Kiss Me Dead’ and ‘Heartbreak Whirl’ create a subtle feeling of euphoria. And with only two members and the intelligent use of a laptop full of beats, the girl and boy duo really do perform. Shame this evening’s crowd just weren’t having any of it.

Having pushed the boundaries a little too far for the audience of MySpace savvy popsters, it was time for a break. And what better antidote for the anxious crowd than a rendition of Culture Club’s ‘Karma Chameleon’! The care-free and quite honestly camp anthem proved to be the perfect medicine, lifting the crowd’s spirits and suitably preparing them for the imminent arrival of (for tonight anyway) their indie/pop icons.


“Tales of girls AND boys AND girls AND MARSUPIALS”. The first we hear from The Wombats, and what an impressive start. Even if you’re not a fan, there is no question that the strength and articulation of both their albums and tonight’s opening track is second to none.

After hushing the 3000 strong crowd and with the tentative opening song complete, the boys could really get to grips with their first big hit, ‘Kill The Director’. A chorus of “Bridget Jones” resonate throughout the Academy accompanied with a fluster of energy. The chants end and lead singer Murphy states to the crowd, “you guys are pretty rowdy”. I’m quite sure the guys wouldn’t expect anything less.


The band have played Birmingham Academy on numerous occasions, but they still perform tonight as if it’s their first ever gig. These guys must really love playing live as their energy and enthusiasm seems as clear now as it was a few months back. The only difference tonight being their increased confidence and suitably accelerated performance.

After musing to myself as to whether Norwegian bassist Tord is actually mental, I diverted my attention to crowd pleaser ‘Lost In The Post’. The tune boasts something integral to The Wombats songs, their catchy backing vocals. And who better to blast them out other than mentalist Tord. After “ooing” his Norwegian heart out, the band have a minute to take in the 3000 strong sweaty crowd.

“So I’m moving to New York, cus I’ve got problems with my sleep…” Need I say more? A song which weirdly defies most of their other songs, and tonight, brings the whole crowd together in a forum of ecstasy. With this, in my opinion, The Wombats most favoured and integral song over I retreat to the bar for a top up.

As far as bands go today, The Wombats are able to present the crowd with a symbol of youth and a care-free attitude to life. Their presentation of ‘Lets Dance To Joy Division’ sums up the whole evening with thanks to the line, “we’re so happy”, never having more meaning.


Indie disco favourite ‘Backfire At The Disco’ ends the trio’s two song encore with help from a pair of shiny disco balls. The catchy chorus and fast paced, guitar driven verses lead the dehydrated crowd into an explosion of cheers. And even though this evening’s performance will be etched in my memory, I’m bloody glad to get outside for some fresh air.

The Wombats continue touring around the UK until the end of this month when they pop over to America for a few dates.

Review – Frazer Lawton
Photos – Lucy Pryor

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2 thoughts on “The Wombats + Magic Wands + The Blakes @ Birmingham Academy – 10th May

  1. I interviewed Wombat’s Matthew at One Big Weekend the next day. He said he enjoyed the gig because it was ‘very sweaty and very very dirty.’!

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