Rhian Daly reports on The Holloways and The Wombats (again!) – Junction, Cambridge 20 Sept 2007

Artist Visiting Cambridgeshire
Outside the Junction on this cold yet sunny evening, there's a sense of anticipation and excitement that makes you feel that tonight will be one to remember. Boasting a bill of three exceptionally talented and thrilling artists, you'd have to be completely desensitised to not feel even the tiniest bit giddy waiting for the doors to open.

Kid Harpoon (real name Tom Hull) is the first to take to the stage tonight, and with the aid of his faithful backing band causes a stir with his unique brand of folk-punk. Oozing charisma, he energetically makes his way through a set including future classics such as Late for the Devil, 57 and Riverside. Winning over new fans with every strum, the dishevelled troubadour launches into the keyboard-led Flowers by the Shore, a song so incessantly catchy it'll remain in your head for days, before the Gogol Bordello reminiscent First We Take Manhattan signals the end of a fresh and rousing set.

Liverpool's musical legacy is one that can't be easily ignored, so it's no wonder The Wombats have been getting so much attention of late. But, as they show tonight, that's also because they're easily one of the best bands Britain has to offer right now. Quirky and eccentric, they start their set with a pre recorded story of ‘three boys from Liverpool', before ripping straight into a series of spiky pop songs, each as fun and upbeat as the last. Favourites such as Moving To New York and Party in a Forest (Where's Laura?) get the audience dancing and crowd surfing but it's only when latest single Let's Dance To Joy Division kicks in that things get properly mental. A mass sing-along ensues when Kill The Director closes another slice of intense indie pop, leaving tonight's headliners a very hard act to follow.

Starting their first proper Cambridge gig with the social commentary of Fuck Ups, The Holloways prove they've got what it takes to match The Wombats live show, whipping the crowd into frenzy. Disaster looms menacingly as singer Alfie Jackson is hit in the eye, but, thankfully unharmed, manages to carry on until the end of the song before issuing a sarcastic thank you to the crowd. The bitter start to the set is soon forgotten though as the band from North London rattle through tracks from their brilliant album So, This Is Great Britain? Infectious riffs and shout-along lyrics are the order of the night as favourites Dancefloor, Diamonds and Pearls and Happiness and Penniless are raced through before new songs Cool Down and Sorry For Being Late are showcased, displaying the Holloways continuing knack for anthems. A rare appearance by early b-side Sound of the Sunshine is made before the less than patriotic Great Britain gets the crowd moving again. It's soon time for the encore and a stage diving cameo from Kid Harpoon during the band's summery hit Generator highlights the atmosphere of fun and frolics that's been present throughout the entire night. A vast section of the crowd leave before the end, satisfied having seen the aforementioned song, but those who stay get to see the Holloways triumphantly conclude their first night in the city as headliners, leaving the stage to the appropriately chirpy Always Look On The Bright Side of Life. The Holloways, The Wombats and Kid Harpoon - I'd say that's definitely a night to remember.

Writer: Rhian Daly