sarah l wilson photography


The Wombats
Subterranean, Chicago 2011

Beside the fact that the show was insanely good, I’ve never been so in love with an audience. They were extremely welcoming to the opening bands, Static Jacks and The Postelles. The girl behind me was dancing and screaming for the Static Jacks: when I asked her if she was a fan, she said she never heard of them. I think that fairly represents the whole crowd.

When The Wombats made it to the stage, the audience went bananas. It was almost like everyone rehearsed what was going to happen. The arms up, the sing-alongs, and the shouts all were coordinated to what was going on the stage. You could feel the true love of the audience and it was cool as hell.

The Wombats started off with “Our Perfect Disease”. Murphy had on a “Hammer-U can’t touch this 90” shirt. Just by the shirt alone, that little subliminal clue, you knew this was going to be a fun show. Next was “Kill the Director”. This is when the perfect choreography between fans and band began; Murphy needed to provide very little encouragement to get the audience to sing along with the song. The hall filled with voices singing “This is no Bridget Jones!”

A few songs in, Murphy suggested that we “casually grind against someone you’d like to be a loved one.”
When they got to “Techno Fan”, Dan started jumping around behind his kit. It was hard to believe his back-up vocals sounded so smooth despite all the banging on the drums and dance-drumming he was doing.
It was around this time, that a group of kids got the band’s attention. They yelled it was a girl’s birthday. (You can see the birthday girl, Caroline, on our fan page.) The band then wished her Happy Birthday. This is part of why small venues rule. The shows are more intimate.

The place calmed down for 1996. I was taken aback by how strange it felt for the audience to be so docile after how hyper they were. They became this group mind that responded in sync to the cool down of the song. When Murphy asked for people to fire up their cell phones on this cue, the audience was a sea of glowing cell phones swaying to the song.
Holy Balls! The drummer had a harmonica on! It was nice to see an old school instrument find its way onto the stage. They were playing “Little Miss Pipedream” and the crowd had bounced back from the cool down and were in top form again.

Tord was a machine. Luckily they were on a small stage, because my neck would have snapped trying to keep him in my sights, if he had more room to move. He was on his side of the stage, and boom, he was on the other, high fiving audience members. He took to the keyboards during “1996”, which restrained him to one spot for a few minutes. His bass playing was exceptional. He isn’t the boring type that needs to watch himself play the guitar. This guy was on fire.

For “My First Wedding”, they dropped the keyboards, and it sounded brilliant. It was cool that they could do songs both ways. Murphy raised his mic stand so that the people watching from the balcony could sing “She’s not that beautiful!” along with him.

It was hard to believe I was actually getting to watch Murphy sing. He sounded so perfect and the show was so good. The lyrics are so witty and smart and he’s singing them so clearly and beautifuly. It was exciting watching him jump around the stage, especially since he had on skinny jeans: we know how difficult moving can be in those…

For the last song, Murphy commanded “Let’s see you all fucking dancing!” And they went into “Tokyo”. If there was anyone in the audience still on the chill mode, you wouldn’t have known it. The place went nuts.
For their first encore, they played the slightly slower “Anti-D”. Then, KAPOW!…they break into “Let’s Dance To Joy Division”. The energy and the pure joy in the place was overwhelming. They even added a kick ass jam tribute to Chicago’s own Smashing Pumpkins. Murphy ended it all with a ‘thank you and good-night’. Then he threw the mic down on the ground. So kitschy hardcore and awesome.

After the show, I saw the roadie who had been attending to Murphy onstage with such outstanding care. He kept him in wine (Yes, wine. Oh, it’s the little things that make love grow.), guitars, and towels. I complimented him on his keen attention to Murphy. He replied in a deep voice with a thick Welsh accent, “I-luv-em.” I do too, my friend, I sooo do.

© Sarah L. Wilson Photography; rights reserved; contact for further information


The Horrors w/The Step Kids
Lincoln Hall, Chicago
September 2011

The pretty people of Chicago came out for this show. We were surprised at who showed up. Really surprised! We took pictures of these guys that we thought looked really cool. It wasn’t until weeks later, when cruising the magazine rack, I saw them on the cover of a music magazine. Holy balls…did not know. Anyways, like all the people there that night, they were cool as hell.

© Sarah L. Wilson Photography; rights reserved; contact for further information


Thom Kirkpatrick
Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio 2011

I went to see the Kooks with The Postelles opening. So when this guy came out, I was surprised. He sat down in front of a small keyboard, with a cymbal attached to it. He had a guitar slung around him, and occasionally held a drumstick in his right hand. Long bangs hid his face, but not the huge smile he had as the crowd cheered him on.

Thom Kirkpatrick came out and after one song, he had the place in his hands. I don’t even know what the first song was. I was looking at this guy with amazement as he was singing, playing the guitar, messing with the keyboards, and then hitting the cymbal with the drumstick. He was clapping and stomping his foot. He is, as he says, a one man band. His next song was “Never Enough”. Thom Kirkpatrick is so awesome. His second song in, and I’m hooked.

His songs are catchy and fun. The audience was dancing and having a good time. Then he tells the audience that he is a keyboard player for The Kooks and that he will occasionally do a set before a show. That may explain the initial warm reception from some of the audience, but I had no idea who he was and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. I instantly had high hopes for the Kooks show. I’m thinking if they’re half as good as this guy, it’s going to be a kick ass show. Not only that, but I was going to be able to see him perform again. (Side note: did not see him on the stage with the Kooks. Don’t know the speakers were blocking my view or if he was a background keyboardist. Huge disappointment.)

He goes into “The Fear” and no it’s not a Lily Allen cover. It’s an amazing song. He did do a cover, though. He told the crowd that he was about to “get hip hop on your asses” and broke into “No Diggity” by Blackstreet. He harmonized the beginning , filling the hall with his voice. I heard he has a recorder attached to his one man band apparatus that when he taps a pedal it records him, and then when he hits it again, it replays it. If I didn’t see it for my own eyes, I would have thought there was a slew of people onstage with him.

“Jumper Down” ended his unfortunately short set. His songs are one his website as well as his myspace. In contrast to the feel good-ness of his set, the lyrics are little bit on the bitter side. Which was refreshing , because if it was all around happy-go-lucky, it would have been too much. I felt so lucky to be able to catch his set, because he doesn’t play at every show. The hall got smaller as he played and became more like an intimate party where everyone was having a good time standing around him and watching him go. His time on stage was fun and I can’t wait to see him again.

© Sarah L. Wilson Photography; rights reserved; contact for further information