We Are Scientists are currently on tour all across the UK, hitting up and selling out venues left, right and centre. We sent Adam Reynolds along to catch a glimpse of them.
It's not hugely busy when we get to the venue, but we had been advised to come down early, and make sure we check the first band (something I always try to do). Today's offering is a local 3 piece, called Quinn. Whilst in the bar outside the room, we're approached by a young guy, who tells us that the first band are due on in about five minutes or so. Little did I realise that this guy is the frontman for the aforementioned Quinn. The Slade Rooms is a small venue, and has quite a wide stage. It seems to be wide to compensate for the lack of depth to said stage. With the headliners drum kit already set up in the middle of the stage, it puts the support acts' kit over on the side of the stage, so the three piece are playing almost in a straight line. It is commented on by the guy that approached us earlier, that it's "unsettling" as he is used to the drummer being behind him, as we see from the occasional glance back at an empty space. Anyway, layout be damned, Quinn give themselves a bloody good showing. They really grab the proverbial bull by the horns, and smash this showcase of their cheerful almost surf rock. They sound like they could score a remake of The OC or something. Like a Californian Beach band sound. They're damn good fun. Catch them if you can, you won't be able to keep from at least bopping a little bit.
Next, hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Beverly take to the stage. They're a four piece, mixed gender band. The atmosphere in the room changes a tad as they enter. Onto the stage steps a beautiful group of people - the kind you could only dream of - and you can hear jaws drop and eyes popping out of heads as they enter. There's no fanfare, nor any dramatic flourish, they just come on, and start playing. It starts quite dreamy and ambient, but as the set progresses, so does the tempo of this band, and they end on a frenzied song, with rapid drums and a matching bass line. The two guitarists share vocals too, and they are entrancing. I'm not usually one for this kind of music, but they're getting over with me, and left me wanting to hear more from them. So far, so good. But the midcard is done with. Time for the main event of the evening. We Are Scientists.
I still can't work out why they aren't playing a bigger venue than this. But they launch into "Impatience" and the foot only comes off the pedal to hit the crowd with their trademark dialogue, which can tackle pretty much any subject in some form of abstract manner. Today, they cover Cheese, Graham Crackers and how Wolverhampton combines two of their favourite things in "The Hamptons and Wolves". It takes a weird turn into Wolf Sanctuaries as a holiday destination, but quickly falls into line to begin "the song in the video with a bear, which [they] wanted to be a wolf. It's [their] Wolf Song". It's "Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt". They released their newest album earlier this year, and honestly? It feels like it was an age old album. Every word of every song tonight resonates from the crowd around me, whether it be new (from "Helter Seltzer") or old (from the 10 year old "With Love and Squalor" (yes, it's really 10 years old!)), not a single song is out of place. They all belong on this set list, slotting perfectly together like a jigsaw. Even when things slow down slightly for "Make It Easy", the atmosphere is still electric. When Keith wades into the crowd, and sings one on one with people (including me (and yes, it was quite meaningful for me)), he isn't hampered or crushed by people rushing at him, and can easily make his way around the room, but it feels so intimate and personal. The whole night has a big show feel, in a small venue.
The "hits" get played with such raw passion, you could be mistaken in thinking that this was the first time they'd been played. But the most passionate songs come at the end, to close the set. My personal favourite, "After Hours" is the penultimate song of the night, and tugs right on the heartstrings, as it always will. The atmosphere surrounding that song; the lyrical content, the delivery, or just the almost religious chant of "We're all right where we're supposed to be", there's something about it that is just magical. But then comes a new offering in the form of "Too Late", which feels like a mature version of "After Hours", and plays on very similar heartstrings. We Are Scientists have a number of highly charged, heavily emotional songs, that are delivered in such a fun way that you can't help but smile as you sing about a difficult time in life. It's just proof that music can change the way you see the world.
You can be a glass half empty kinda person, but if you sing along with We Are Scientists, you'll find yourself asking why the glass doesn't just have more in it. Remove the philosophical crap, enjoy yourself. Stop taking things
so seriously, sing along, and dance. If you can go to a Scientists show and not dance, then I am deeply sorry to have to inform you, but you may be a tad dead inside.
Words - Adam Reynolds
Pictures - Jack Kirby