Music critic Victoria Wilson applauds We Are Scientists energy and enthusiasm, despite a resistant audience

Written by Victoria Wilson
Last updated

When we spoke a few weeks before the tour, lead singer and guitarist of We Are Scientists, Keith Murray’s excitement was clear, and this energy radiated through the band’s performance. The setlist struck the perfect balance between hits from the new album, Huffy, and older classics spanning across their ten albums; this enthused the uniquely multigenerational audience, keeping us on our toes. Bass player Chris Cain and Murray interspersed these post-punk indie rock anthems with a witty and weird repertoire, engaging the audience in a part concert, part comedy show mash up which illuminated the cohesion of the band and kept us laughing and singing from the first note.

Opening the show, indie rock band Coach Party, built up a bold, vibrant atmosphere. As in their recent set supporting Sea Girls, the bands’ newly released single ‘FLAG (Feel Like A Girl)’ was fierce and feisty, flicking from soft ballad-like runs to a climatic rock chorus which had the audience clapping and swaying along. Though overshadowing the vocals, which felt quite one-dimensional, a highlight was drummer Guy Page’s striking beat, layered with Joe Perry’s synthesised electric guitar riffs in ‘Everybody Hates Me’. Ultimately Coach Party’s energetic performance left the room buzzing; their angsty tones diverged from, yet complimented, We Are Scientist’s style perfectly.

The band’s pairing of new and older tunes highlighted the growth and transition of their style

After a short wait, We Are Scientists burst onto the stage with a powerfully uplifting performance of ‘You’ve Lost Your Shit’ from 2021 album Huffy, combining explosive vocals and a catchy chorus with a headbanging beat from drummer Michael Tapper. This seamlessly merged into top hit ‘Buckle,’ featuring a stunning guitar duet from Murray and Cain. The band’s pairing of new and older tunes highlighted the growth and transition of their style from angular post punk to more whimsical synthesised tunes. Much of the audience remained quite mellow, refusing to do justice to the bands’ passionate performance. It was clear the crowd was feeling the wintry Monday night energy, but We Are Scientists still had us all laughing along with their comical commentary.

the band were clearly enjoying the show as much as I was

From Chris’ witty excuses about crop harvesting and brand sponsored tattoos to avoid taking his top off, despite one man’s persistent requests, to the classic pre-chorus pause to down a beer from Keith during ‘I Cut My Own Hair,’ the band were clearly enjoying the show as much as I was. Energy in the crowd spiked as We Are Scientists rocked their top hit ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ from their 2005 album ‘With Love and Squalor.’ We sang and danced along to the pacy beat; despite having played this song hundreds of times over the years, the band matched the ecstatic mood, owning the stage. Then, the show mellowed a little, showcasing Murray’s vocal range with the slower, slightly lyrical ‘KIT’ from 2018 album ‘Megaplex.’ As ‘No Wait at Five Leaves’ was the first We Are Scientists song that I listened to, their performance of this was a personal favourite. With lively tunes such as ‘Your Light has Changed,’ ‘Contact High,’ and ‘Chick Lit,’ dipping in and out of Huffy and older albums, the band revived the dynamic atmosphere of the show, reaching a Climax with hit song ‘After Hours,’ before precariously balancing their guitars on the drumkit, jokingly attempting to limbo under them, before exiting the stage. 

Though again, the audience slacked, barely shouting for an encore, We are Scientists re-entered the stage to applause, mocking the crowds lack of chants. Chris took control of the lead vocals, adopting an almost country twang, uniquely merged with an 80’s style synthesised sound, through use of distortion in ‘Bought Myself a Grave,’ an experimental outstanding new song from ‘Huffy’ which the band seemed to really enjoy performing. Joking that it sounds the same as every rock song from the last 20 years, We are Scientists launched into fan favourite ‘Nice Guys’ from 2010 album ‘Barbara,’ followed by ‘Too Late,’ and finishing with iconic hit ‘This Scene is Dead.’

Ultimately, We Are Scientists put on a witty and wonderful high energy show, with an impeccable setlist, providing a fiery debut for Huffy and encompassing all of their many eras, genres and tones. Their enthusiasm and relaxed chatty vibes were engaging and infectious.


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