PICTURE THIS: The Wombats + Future Feats + Nation of Language @ Wonder Ballroom, Portland 1/29/18
The Wombats returned to Portland this week to headline a really fun night of music at the Wonder Ballroom. In town to promote their upcoming release, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, a night with The Wombats is always something to remember, and they always bring other great bands along for the ride. The mostly college-aged crowd traveled from as far away as Eugene for a chance to experience what promised to be a great night.
The first band up was Brooklyn-based post-punk / new wave band Nation of Language, who charmed the crowd with their dreamy tunes right out of the mid 80s. It felt like the ghost of Ian Curtis might show up at any moment — it was that good. And this evening’s charm felt no more delightful than when Nation of Language frontman Ian Devaney mentioned that he’d originally met his (keyboardist) fiancée at a Wombats show. A special night, indeed.
Warming up the crowd further was Los Angeles-based four-piece Future Feats. Tearing up the crowd for 40 minutes, you’d never know that this band has only recently released their debut single, “Cities in Wonder,” produced by Justin Warfield of She Wants Revenge. Looking every bit the seasoned band, lead singer Josh was fun, but how about that drummer?!
Just before 10pm, The Wombats took the stage and the crowd lost its mind — and continued to lose its mind — for over an hour. The Wombats have a loyal following here in the States, and seeing them in a crowd of people who are all screaming every word is like being in a room with several hundred of your best friends. Playing a career-spanning set, from the guitar-heavy early days of “Kill the Director,” “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” and “Moving to New York” to mid-career bangers like “1996,” “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)” and “Techno Fan” to recent hits “Give Me a Try,” “Greek Tragedy” … this was a fantastic show. Not to mention how great it was to hear several new songs from the upcoming album — “Lemon to a Knife Fight,” “Black Flamingo,” “Turn” and “Cheetah Tongue.”