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This was first published on Clash Magazine’s website. 

When you think of Brighton, you think of bright sunshine, deckchairs, candy floss and walks along the pier. Tonight, however, Brighton is bracing itself with blustering winds and howling rain. It’s up to Tall Ships and We Are Scientists to use their powerful synths and comedic charm to turn this evening around.

Tall Ships are playing to a home audience, and they certainly feel at ease playing at the Concorde 2. Throughout the whole tour they’ve been getting a good reception, and tonight is no exception as the crowd applaud appreciatively and offer cries of “We love you!” between songs.

With an authentic sound of their own, Tall Ships use synths and guitars to create songs that wouldn’t be out of place in an arena capacity. The melody of ‘Books’ is so catchy that all you can see are lines of people nodding their heads along to the music throughout the room. Set highlight of the evening has to be their rendition of ‘Snow’, which sees band members exchanging instruments to create a wonderfully atmospheric composition.

As the lights dim and that well-known Dirty Dancing soundtrack ‘Time Of My Life’ starts to play, those cheeky New Yorkers We Are Scientists enter the stage dancing along. From the start it’s clear that this is going to be an entertaining show, with the band beginning their set with ‘Nice Guys’ followed by old favourite ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’. As soon as the first few notes are played, the whole venue starts jumping up and down. Chris Cain’s bass lines and Keith’s guitar riffs are infectious.

It wouldn’t be a We Are Scientists show without the typical banter that they are well known for. Tonight, Chris sports a hilarious t-shirt with the phrase “Murray Up and Get Drunk” with Keith’s head embossed in the middle. Andy seems to enjoy sitting back and watching them roll out the laughs – even he can’t help chuckling to himself.

WAS play a mixture of songs from ‘With Love and Squalor’, ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ and ‘Barbara’. Songs such as ‘This Scene is Dead’ and ‘Inaction’ get a brilliant response, as do newer songs such as ‘Jack & Ginger’ with its upbeat tempo and sing-a-long chorus.

Finishing their set with ‘After Hours’, the lyrics “Say won’t you stay” ring throughout the Concorde. With what they offer in entertainment value, the only problem is that there are not enough hours in the day for We Are Scientists shows. The only resolve is that there will be plenty more to come in the future, I’m sure.

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OK this is a new thing but thought it would be cool to start it up….

THINGS WE’VE LEARNT THIS WEEK

Aaron Pfenning from Rewards loves nothing better than to dine at Hackney City Farm. His favourite from the menu is the Vegetarian English Breakfast and an apple juice. Lovely.

Arcade Fire don’t like seeing the same faces at concerts. At Manchester Central the band sent down a messenger to ask a couple of familiar faces at the front to move to give others a chance and to make the show new and more exciting.

Tom Smith really loves appearing at I Am Arrows shows. This time he played at their December show dressed in a trench coat and sporting a moustache. This left electric gutted that they didn’t actually go to the freaking show.

Gigwise have called We Are Scientists album cover the 8th worst of the year. Those scientist bros object to it and retalliated with calling Gigwise the world’s 8th worst punctuated website. To be fair, they have a point. Look at the website and you’ll see the largest amount of unnecessary commas.

The Drums prefer crazy shows. At their Hoxton show this week they declared they weren’t going to play until the security guards got off the stage. There was a mini revolt and the guards who were blocking people’s views all moved. It was a triumphant end of tour show.

Lady Gaga favours nothing more than an English pint at Crobar. She was spotted at the pub in Soho, London the day before she started her two nights at the 02 Arena.

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It’s a cold, cold night (minus 16 degrees in fact) in Oslo and We are Scientists are in town.

As Chris Cain wanders through the tiny bar of Bla, he informs us that “Crazy shit is about to happen tonight” before disappearing off to join the other scientists backstage. 

Twenty minutes later and We Are Scientists enter the stage, in utter darkness. Instead of starting up in their usual fashion, they’re fiddling around with their guitars and microphone stands before deciding to come off the stage and play on the floor in amongst their fans. 

They start with Nice Guys off their latest album Barbara which has real energy to it. Keith jumps up and down, hammering out those riffs while Chris Cain wanders through the audience playing his bass. The crowd here tonight are enjoying the show and can’t believe their luck that their favourite band are stood inches away from them. 

The set contains all of the old crowd pleasers with some newer songs from Barbara thrown in for good measure. Scene is Dead gets one of the best responses of the night and it’s good to see it back on the set list after a very long time without it. 

Of course there wouldn’t be a We Are Scientists show without the usual banter and tonight they’re in full swing, arguing over laser pens among many other things and trying to read their set list in the dark – the lighting crew weren’t prepared for WAS to play off of the stage! 

As the show starts to come to a close, Chris tells the audience to gather around and come closer. “You can sit behind us, stand on the stage, do whatever you want.” Two people take him up on this offer, keeping Danny company on the stage and dancing crazily to After Hours.

And so the show ends with a jamming session between Keith and Chris in which we see Chris jump off the drums with a delighted fan to finish the set.

There’s something more to We Are Scientists. You can’t help but love them partly due to their infectious guitar riffs and partly due to their delightful charm.

Hopefully it won’t be long until they’re back soon.

 

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So I have spent the past two weeks following one of my favourite bands We Are Scientists. Some people tell me they’re just another generic Indie band but honestly, there’s something more to them than meets the eye. They seem to have something that hooks you and I can’t explain it. I guess part of it is their infectious guitar riffs and the other part is their delightful charm.

I started the tour off in Paris, France in a tiny little venue called Fleshe d’or. We took about an hour to find it and actually realised that we walked past it twice and even stopped outside to look at the map. Danny informed us later that he did exactly the same thing when he was looking for the venue.

The gig was good and involved many things a european gig without a barrier does. Keith’s leap into the crowd for Textbook, stage invasions and the usual almost hitting my head with the guitar. The band left quickly but we managed to talk to Danny after who was lovely as always.

Next up it was Birmingham Academy which was a good show. The guys were really into it and there was more textbook action which saw Keith being pulled into the crowd, him sitting on my shoulders and him hitting my mum in the head with his brand new pointy shoes.

They played a DJ set after the show which I have to admit wasn’t looking forward to or expecting anything as I imagined them to be behind a glass case. At half midnight, they step onstage and oh my, it was incredible. I have never heard a band play so much crap ( apart from Editors Papillion!). Chris came over and said hello and I got the biggest hug – I had to let go because he wouldn’t! Then Keith came over, got mobbed, I got fed up and went and danced with him to What is Love. And yes that is the youtube video. Apparently they’ve seen it. Danny thinks it’s hillarious and Keith only watched half, probably because he was so wasted that he doesn’t want to see the rest of the damage he caused. We then danced to I’m Too Sexy which was incredibly hilarious. We decided to leave them to it as one crazy girl was still trying to mob him and she was making me angry! Apparently after we left, Keith fell on his ass at Danny’s feet and had to be picked up which would have been so funny to watch!

Wednesday was Bristol which was a home gig for me. It took a while for the venue to fill up but when it did, the crowd was rough and there were loads of crowd surfers. Just as Keith and Chris like it apparently. They had pretty much the same setlist apart from Central AC which was good to hear but I was holding out for You Should Learn! Still waiting! Apparently now I find out that they played it in Portsmouth! What a joke! We went and spoke to the band afterwards for a little while before they rushed off to do a DJ set at Propaganda. Keith and Chris left in a hurry and with Danny so we ended up walking him to the club in which we were dancing in the middle of the road pretending to be Cockney geezers. Danny does a mean cockney accent i’ll have you know!

We had a day off before joining the tour again in Norwich at the UEA which was one of the most difficult places to find. Insane. After about half an hour searching through the middle of nowhere, we find it and see that there’s a big queue. No worries. I think it was time for a day off from barrier duties especially as our partners in crime Jo and Tracey weren’t there either. We had a good view on the side which meant we got to see how rough a WAS crowd usually is. There were shoes going around the audience, one of which Keith chucked back and continued to play Nobody Move. It was pretty funny. There wasn’t as much banter as usual but Keith was sick with a bit of a cold and sore throat so that was probably why.

They rushed off after the show to do a DJ set in the centre of town which turned out to be in the tiniest bar I have ever seen. The guys were at a tiny table with people crowding around. They were lovely as always with Keith and Chris giving me the biggest grin as he saw me walk up to them. That’s the thing with these guys, they are so nice, you want to see them every day! I have no idea what it’s going to be like after the tour is over! I’m going to miss them so much!

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After waking up in our lovely hotel room we headed straight downstairs for a nice big German breakfast of bagels, salami, cheeses and muffins. We headed out and did a whistlestop tour of Berlin – the town hall, Brandenburg Gates, Checkpoint Charlie before ending up at possibly the biggest train station I have ever seen.. the Berlin Hauptbahnhof where for the first time we caught a train in Germany.

The train to Hamburg was about two and a half hours but the weirdest thing was that it was in compartments like something out of Harry Potter. It all was a bit strange, especially as we had to share it with other people, so there I was fast asleep with my mouth wide open and mumnbling basically being an embarrassment to myself. NICE.

We had a bit of a wander, got something to eat and headed to the venue which was again in a bit of a weird place. We Are Scientists like to take us to the classiest of places. There are a couple of people there already so we hang around and kind of queue. The doors open and the people in front of us in the queue asked if we could go in first – who knows why?!

We got where we wanted to be. Centre stage. No barrier. Lovely. Until a German photographer asked me if he could push in front to take photos for the first three songs. I said in my best German. “No way”. He didn’t like it very much at all. But hey the show must go on. Minus the bear entered the stage and did pretty much the same set as the night before. Again they were very good but the guitarist didn’t half get close to my head when he jumped around.

We Are Scientists enter the stage and start again with Dinosaurs, then I don’t Bite which is becoming really popular with the crowds almost as much as the older ones. We are then hit with Nobody Move which gets the whole crowd going really. There is a lot of banter again. I don’t think they even mean to be as funny as they are!

Keith keeps laughing and looking at something in the crowd until we see a guy with curly hair wearing a fake mustache. Keith says “Look! It’s another Chris Cain! Get this man up here. ” and he does. WAS and an extra Chris Cain play Great Escape and fake Chris gets given a bass to play so he can pretend to strum along with the band! How cool is that?!

The encore was Break it Up which is a personal favourite off of Barbara how ever I really wish they would play You Should Learn because it is clearly the best track off of Barabara. They end with Cash Cow. Perfection the the max. What a band.

We hang around at the end like we told them we would. There are a couple of annoying fan girls outside screaming their heads off. They break into the backstage area which I thought was a little much… we just hung around and waited for twenty minutes until Keith came out and declared he was coming back but just had to put some stuff on the bus.

Five minuted later and he came back, signed my poster, had another conversation until some more fans wanted some stuff signed. When he was finished with them and they’d gone he turned to us and said: “Right then mams! We’re heading inside the bar. Meet us around the other side!”  and so we did.

It was quite funny watching Keith get mobbed by people wanting to talk to him. We spent a lot of the time with Danny who was talking to us about Cats and Australia which was hillarious and then we watched him and Keith playfight pretending to be cats. Extremely surreal. And so that was the end of the evening. We bid them farewell with a hug and told them we’d see them in Brighton. Keith wished us a safe journey home and that was that. The end of the European adventure – well for now anyway. Bring on November!

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So ok you probably know by now that i’m a big We Are Scientists fan, ever since Mr Keith Murray crowdsurfed over our heads during the Arctic Monkeys at the NME awards, i’ve had a bit of a soft spot for this band. Five years later and it’s still going strong. Recently travelling to see bands has become a bit of a habit…. you know when something starts off as a joke and then it becomes reality……

Reality hit me when we set off from home to Stansted airport at two in the morning, park the car and head for the Ryanair (yes i’m a cheap person) departure area ready to head off to Berlin. Yes Berlin. Actual Germany.

Two hours later and we touch down ready to spend 24 hours in Berlin. We do the sightseeing stuff, eating at Hard Rock Cafe where (yes random things happen to us all of the time) we were kind of serenaded by the lead singer of The Script who was practising on the balcony for a television appearance.

We head to the Berlin Lido with a little time to spare, but it’s all good. The sun is shining and the RayBans are out. BAM. Doors open at eight and support band Minus the Bear are on at nine. They were pretty good actually. One of the best support acts WAS have ever had and believe me i’ve seen a mixture of good and bad ones.Mostly bad ones. Sorry guys.  The crowd really like Minus the Bear a lot and they thank us for being so lovely.

But now it’s time for what I got the plane for. My beloved We Are Scientists. Tonight they’re doing a small show to 400 people. I’m sat on the stage in between breaks  – the place is that small and by the time they come on the place is rammed to the max. If i’m being honest everything’s a bit of a blur. It’s so much fun watching that band that sometimes it’s hard to remember what songs were even played. I can tell you that they started with Dinosaurs which I thought was a bit of a strange one – never seen that done before! Then they went straight into I don’t Bite before doing some old stuff like Scene is Dead and then some stuff off Barbara like Jack and Ginger and Pittsburgh. Lots of banter. A hell of a lot of banter. They are so good at that kind off stuff it’s all part of the performance. They ended with After Hours and then a shocker Cash Cow which actually works really well at the end of the setlist. What a show though. Seriously. Those guys know how to create the best hour and twenty minute show that will blow your mind. Wow.

So after having our minds blown we decide to hang around and say hello. Well we didn’t need to. Keith came up to me and said “Hello! How are you?!!” something which made me laugh. The thing is with these guys is that they are so nice – pardon the pun and so easy to talk to that you could be there forever! I think we were there for like twenty minutes to half an hour. We told him that we’d been to Hard Rock Cafe and he gave us the BIGGEST lecture on eating from a chain. Apparently when you’re in Berlin you don’t eat from a chain. Well that’s the words of Keith Murray obviously. He told us that he expected better from us. Sorry Keith! After several more random conversations and a big hug we bid them farewell and tell them that we’ll see them tomorrow. In which they replied “safe trip to Hamburg! See you tomorrow!”

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Keith Murray and Chris Cain are a musical duo that we’ve all come to know and love. Put them, I Am Arrows and a £5 face value ticket together and you’ve got the perfect combination for a great night out.
And so this great night out begins with competition winners Your Army who make an impact despite having just a twenty minute set.

Then things step up a notch when Andy Burrows’ new project I Am Arrows entered the stage starting with Summery favourite Nun. They play songs from their debut album ‘Sun Comes Up Again’ which was released last week. There’s a fresh feel to their album which is great to hear live. A last minute decision meant that the Brighton crowd are treated to a Tears For Fears cover of ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ which is extremely well received and works really well with Burrows’ vocals. They finish with recent single Green Grass with its catchy chorus with everyone swaying along to the beat.

The Scientist Bros step onto the tiny stage and go straight into old favourites ‘Chick Lit’ and ‘Great Escape’ getting the 350 crowd jumping up and down, nodding their heads to the great guitar riffs of Keith Murray. And then the familiar banter between Keith and Chris begins….What’s the topic for today’s gig? Chilli Peppers. Yep. Bit of a strange theme for the lead in a rock band but that’s We Are Scientists for you.

During ‘After Hours’, frustrated with the lack of stage space, Keith steps off the stage and suddenly the barrier starts to move. Everyone wants to touch the Murray, everyone wants to get that perfect photo. Towards the end of the song, he raises his microphone in the air and aims it at the crowd. He may as well just stand there, there’s no need to sing at all. As he plays the final riffs and steps back onto his little stage something special is about to happen…

Andy Burrows takes his place on the drums for the last two songs ‘Jack & Ginger’ and ‘Nobody Move’. It’s clear these guys are the best of buds as at the end of the set, Keith and Chris pick up Andy and they all fall on a heap on the floor. Poor Andy, this always seems to happen to him – there’s always laughs when Keith and Chris are around.

We Are Scientists give a giant smile and say farewell to the Brighton crowd. No rest for those Scientists though as they head straight off for a DJ set in Portsmouth. Keith and Chris, possibly the busiest men in music at the moment! It won’t be soon before they’re back in November for their full UK tour.

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