'The crowd was bobbing, buzzing, singing along and the atmosphere was electric.' Layla Link reviews New York rockers We Are Scientists' gig at Thekla.
We arrived at Thekla about half an hour before the supporting act - The Pale White - came on. It was as empty as I’ve ever seen it - I worried that it wouldn’t, in fact, be ‘the boat that rocked’. We grabbed some drinks (highly recommend the ‘sex on the boat’ cocktail) and took a seat - I was eager to hear the Pale White, having seen them already supporting The Amazons at SWX last year, where they absolutely smashed it. This time around, they had a smaller crowd, with most people turning up for the main act and it wasn’t quite the sweaty, young mosh the band are used to, yet they still put on an awesome show.
The up and coming trio are all from close-knit Newcastle, having risen to fame from numerous hits on Soundcloud, they now have a 4-track EP and a large following. Arctic Monkeys-esque, the band’s performance was energetic, loud and filthy - they definitely warmed up the crowd for We Are Scientists, despite only being on for about half an hour. I would’ve loved to hear more - their edgy hit, 'Reaction’ , was my favourite, with lead singer, Adam, in typical rock-star style, falling to his knees for the bridge. They gave a good mix of both heavy and pop tunes - roaring choruses followed by eerier tracks such as ‘Second Place’. The Pale White were in fact far from pale, dressed in head-to-toe black, looking effortlessly hip. Adam had a very cool boy-band vibe, pushing back his long hair as he smashed out riffs. It seemed just as we were getting into it, they left us on a cliffhanger, leaving the stage prepped for the headliner.
We Are Scientists came on, a six-pack in each hand, to a roaring crowd, clearly they were big fans. The indie-rock band from America, whose name originated after a supermarket worker mistakenly thought they were scientists, formed in 2000 and have been on the up ever since. Despite the fact that I didn’t know the words to many of their songs, they were brilliant - and catchy enough to pick up easily. They played both classics such as ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ and ‘It’s a Hit’ as well as some of their new stuff. The small venue was packed, but we managed to get a place quite close to the side of the stage, giving us a great view of the band. Their tunes gave me Panic At the Disco type vibes, with deep, resounding bass lines overlapped with fast-paced guitars. The crowd was bobbing, buzzing, singing along and the atmosphere was electric. 'This Scene is Dead’ was a real hit and when the infamous ‘After Hours’ finally came on, the room exploded - and continued to dance right until the final song.
The cheeky lead singer, Keith Murray, interacted with the crowd all the way through - cracking jokes left, right and centre - and sometimes it seems, getting lost in their own private conversations on stage, yet somehow managing to make the crowd feel involved, and special. The band revealed that most of their gigs, in fact, started in Bristol, then preceded to joke about the unique venue - ‘we could die at any point’ -claiming it brought a new level of positive energy to the gig. The crowd absolutely loved it, and so did I.
It happened to be the drummer Andy Burrow’s birthday and the band encouraged us to sing happy birthday to him at various points throughout the night, which we preceded to do, each time getting increasingly louder, either due to the beer kicking in, or the energy of the band, or most likely, both. Their gig was a mixture of killer tunes and comedy, turning a gig into a real performance that appealed to a wide audience - both old and young, men and women.
We Are Scientists not only play great music, they are one of the most entertaining bands I’ve ever been to see. Honestly, the music was great, and I definitely got into it the more I watched, but what really made the night was the energy of the band. The boat did indeed rock.
Featured image: Flickr / Drew de F Fawkes
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