Live Review: The Wombats with Static Jacks and Postelles at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – 21st October 2011

By on Monday, 24th October 2011 at 2:00 pm

Months ago when the Wombats autumn North American tour was announced, I was even more incredulous when I saw the entire bill for the second gig in DC as the 9:30 Club. The openers were to be the Static Jacks (who I’d seen open for Futureheads and Biffy Clyro last year) and one of my personal favourites, New York’s Postelles. So I already knew with three bands that I love playing on one night was going to be an event of epic proportions. I just didn’t know how big the Wombats were in Washington. The show wasn’t sold out, but I think a lot of curious people showed up last minute, because the venue felt rammed. The ratio was definitely in favour of screaming teenage girls, but it turned out that it worked in favour of the openers.

The Static Jacks were on first. I was sure few people there had heard of them and they would have their work cut out for them. This was the first time I’d seen them since they became signed with American indie label Fenway, where they are labelmates with Doves and the Cribs. It could have been part the great soundsystem at the 9:30 but they sounded so amazingly tight. Just brilliant. It was one of those moments where I felt proud to be a fan early on: to be able to see them progress. There’s no way but up, up and away for this band now. Sing-song ‘Blood Pressure’, a song about the very real angst of growing up, was the highlight of the set for me, though ‘Girl Parts’, with its punk sensibility, got everyone dancing along to singer Ian Devaney’s powerfully delivered vocals. After the show, teenage girls were clamouring to get photos and CDs of their new album ‘If You’re Young’ signed. That was a tearful moment.

The Postelles have a pretty large and vocal university kid-age following in DC, but on this night they probably gained a load more younger fans. After a blinding set from their New Jersey little brothers on this tour, they had to rise to the challenge of getting the crowd on their side. I shouldn’t have worried: the Postelles are consummate performers, singer Daniel Balk getting the whole audience involved with the final refrain ‘Hey Little Sister’, a song which was dedicated to me. (That was all kinds of awesome.) They previewed two new songs, one of which is called ‘Tidal Wave’ and fit perfectly alongside songs from their self-titled debut released this past summer.

And then came the Wombats. This was the first time they’d come to our town but it was obvious as I was waiting in the queue before doors that they had a lot of teenage fans. This was one night where I didn’t have to worry about beer on my shoes. I always wear earplugs to gigs but they were requisite this night, as girls screamed every time bassist/keyboardist Tord Øverland-Knudsen jumped around with his Fender. That man probably sweated off his body weight as he bounced across the stage. (I had an interview with Tord before the show, and the interview is coming soon to TGTF.) In comparison, Matthew “Murph” Murphy was more stoic, the words of songs so beloved to so many of the gig-goers crossing his lips to manic screams of delight. ‘Girls and Fast Cars’ and ‘Techno Fan’ went down superbly, kids pogo-ing as if their lives depended on it.

I should note that the 9:30 Club has a strict crowd surfing policy. Usually. So crowd surfing is unheard of here. After the 10th crowd surfer was carried above and over the barrier and then shooed back into the crowd, I stopped counting. Murph commented they’d never seen crowd surfers at an American show, so I think it’s safe to say that the Wombats are never going to forget this night in Washington. Ladies and gentlemen, I think I’ve found my best gig of 2011.

But the night was not over. Tord and drummer Dan spun tunes at nearby DC9 (where I explained to Tord I’d seen his countrymen Casiokids just the past Monday) and not only did they play some great tunes (M83, Blur, Rage Against the Machine, and Passion Pit, just to name a couple), writer Cheryl square-danced with Dan on the DC9 stage. You can’t make this stuff up, kids. Just a really good night out, the likes that are likely not to be repeated anytime soon.

After the cut: more photos and set lists.

The Static Jacks Photos:

The Postelles Photos:

The Postelles Set List
Running Red Lights
1,2,3 Stop
She She
Looking Glass
New song (title unknown)
Hey Little Sister
Tidal Wave (new song)
White Night
Beat on the Brat (Ramones cover)
Can’t Stand Still

The Wombats Photos:

The Wombats Set List
Our Perfect Disease
Kill the Director
Girls and Fast Cars
Jump into the Fog
Patricia the Stripper
Schumacher the Champagne
Techno Fan
Last Night I Dreamt
Little Miss Pipedream
Moving to New York
My First Wedding
Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)
Walking Disasters
Let’s Dance to Joy Division

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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