By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – English band The Wombats bring their catchy blend of indie rock to Studio RJ on Sunday, September 29th as part of the month-long celebration of “Mr. Jack’s Birthday”, a series of events sponsored by Jack Daniel’s to commemorate what would be the 163rd birthday of the brand’s creator.
The trio, consisting of Matthew Murphy (vocals, guitar and keyboard), Tord Øverland-Knudsen (bass guitar) and Daniel Haggis (drums, backing vocals), hit Rio off the back of a show in São Paulo’s Barra Funda neighborhood on September 27th. Formed in Liverpool in 2003, the band didn’t release their first official full-length album, “The Wombats Proudly Present: A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation”, until 2007, going Top 20 in the UK.
The three-piece followed up that album with 2011’s “The Wombats Proudly Present: This Modern Glitch”, hailed by the BBC as “a flawless modern classic to file alongside “Free All Angels” by Ash, Franz Ferdinand’s debut and Hard-Fi’s “Stars of CCTV”.” The album peaked at number three in the UK charts.
Festival appearances including Glastonbury, T in the Park, Reading and Leeds cemented their fan-base and the band will play Australia’s Falls Music and Arts Festival later this year. Ahead of the dates the band posted a message to their fans saying; “BRAZIL! We can’t wait to see you on the 27th and 29th of this month.”
Opening for The Wombats will be DJs Rapha Lima and Cix and Brazilian rock band Tipo Uisque who opened for American electro-indie band Passion Pit earlier this year.
The “Mr. Jack’s Birthday” shows have been realized by PlayBook, a crowdfunding model similar to that pioneered by the hugely successful Queremos crew. The brainchild of a handful of Carioca music lovers tired of their favorite bands ignoring the city, the Queremos model worked by raising a pre-determined portion of the costs involved in bringing an artist to the city by selling tickets without actually booking the show.
Queremos then reimbursed the early contributors in full once the costs were met, a practice they stopped earlier this year. The model guaranteed artists and venues their fees and fans were rewarded for their support, creating a unique, celebratory energy at the shows.
For The Wombats performances, PlayBook, a partnership between Alessandro Sophia and promotional marketing group Holding Clube, established the target of R$43,200 needed to make both shows happen. To begin the fundraising “Mr. Jack” acted as the first ‘fan’ by underwriting fifty percent of the shows’ costs. For the remaining half they needed just 120 fans to buy tickets at R$180 each, who then had the money reimbursed. Tickets for the Studio RJ show are still available at Mr. Jack’s Birthday page on the official Playbook site (playbook.com.br).
Who: The Wombats
Where: Studio RJ, Avenida Vieira Souto 110, Arpoador, Rio de Janeiro
When: September 29th (doors 8:30 PM, show begins 9:30 PM)