A We Are Scientists show is always guaranteed two things: a wealth of hits and comedy. Last week was no different. Currently touring in support of their fifth studio album, ‘Helter Seltzer’, the Brooklyn-based duo brought everything, and more, to Manchester on this questionably hot Mancunian evening.
Though the event itself wasn’t sold-out, that didn’t stop this from being another fantastic We Are Scientists set, save for the one major issue that was also addressed by gig-goers on social media: the sound. The band themselves were on top form, one of the best sets I’ve personally seen by them, but the overall sound, supposedly engineered, was at painful levels at times. The bass would often get lost amongst the rest of the sound unless Chris (Cain – Bassist), was recreating “engine noises” with his instrument – more on that later. It felt slightly too overwhelming to full enjoy the experience, though as previously stated, the band themselves were on perfect form.
Having five albums means there is a wealth of material to play with in terms of a setlist. We Are Scientists have absolutely no problem in curating a fan favourite set, with the occasional rarity thrown in just to quench those hardcore thirsts. The majority of tracks came from their debut record, ‘With Love & Squalor’, and for good reason. The tracks on this record are simply hard to beat; each one given to us faced an even greater reaction.
The tracks from the new record are sounding particularly strong when presented next to the rest of the back catalogue, such as the aforementioned debut; the use of samples and triggers within songs adds a dynamic that could quite easily have been forgotten about in a live environment, but each track was delivered as it was recorded. Another testament to We Are Scientists pure yet playful work ethic.
One thing that is always a joy to see is the interaction between the band. Keith (Murray – Guitar/Singer) and Chris have a dynamic that is hard to fake. Having been through the industry as band members together, their relationship is comedic, fun and leaves you wanting to be their best friends. Be it Chris randomly deciding that if he rapidly slides up and down the lowest string of his bass, it sounds like an engine revving, or Keith wanting attendees’ parents to tweet the band with their approval, a band has never felt this genuine.
With Keith bounding about the stage as if this were 2005 again, there is no clear sign that, although the years are passing, the band are slowing. In fact, they appear to be fully within their stride. A personal highlight from the duo is ‘After Hours’, the third track from 2007’s ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’. Its lyrical content and memorable riff make it perfect for an end of set track, minus the actual encore, which was still fantastic.
Overall, We Are Scientists are quite simply a quintessential band that everyone must see in their gig-going life. With more hits than you’ll realise you know and added comedic value, there’s really no downside to one of their gigs, unless the sound is incredibly loud, in which case you’ll find yourself laughing and smiling with a slight grimace. Still worth it.
This We Are Scientists review was written by Steven Loftin, A GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard. Header Photo by Ila Desai.