Reviewed by Marc Savlov, Fri., March 21, 2008
The WombatsMaggie Mae's Rooftop, Thursday, March 13
Returning to Austin surfing atop the pop-punk fun-bomb that is hit single "Let's Dance to Joy Division," Liverpool's liveliest marsupials reconfirmed the standing fact that if you want an audience to bop around like a Tasmanian devil on an Earl Grey jag, all that's necessary are three chords and the smattering of harmonized irony. Flopping about as though gravity had been turned down a notch or 10, singer and guitarist Matthew Murphy spent less time with his feet planted onstage than most of his crepuscular brethren, while the amplified image of ridiculously cute mascot Cherub the Wombat silently echoed the happy chaos. Single "Backfire at the Disco" sent the capacity crowd into overdrive, with pogoing making a sudden, unexpected comeback on the outer edges of a stage-front mini-mosh-pit of revolving, ecstatic dervishes. The Wombats' secret weapon remains their uncanny ability to blend thrusty, whiplash bridges over some of the most singable anthemics to come out of the Fab Four's home court since, well, the Fab Four. Which isn't to say that the mad percussion of Dan Haggis and bassist Tord Knudsen is Beatles-esque. We may get a Revolver in the face for saying this, but these Liverpudlians are consistently more upbeat in the face of lyrical heartache. Ian Curtis would've pitched a joyful fit had he been there.