You may remember We Are Scientists as the 00s indie behemoths behind albums such as 2006’s With Love and Squalor and 2008 follow-up Brain Thrust Mastery but, impressively, they’re still releasing album after album and pleasing their loyal set of fans. Their latest record, Megaplex, their sixth in total, released a week before their Concorde 2 gig which charted at a respectable 45 in the UK album charts, took their sound in more of a synth-driven electro-pop direction. Not to worry, though, their live show is still a spectacular prospect, and essentially a journey from the past and present of the New York trio.
Main support for the tour was Newcastle’s The Pale White. Their driving rock and roll sound, reminiscent of the likes of The White Stripes and The Black Keys, is perfectly suited to the Concorde 2’s big stage. Biggest single, ‘Peace of Mind’, dropped in the middle of their impressive set, is a thrashing, riff-heavy banger with an exceptionally melodic bassline running through it. On this performance, it’s not going to be long before The Pale White are headlining venues like this on their own right.
Second single from Megaplex, ‘Your Light Has Changed’, opened proceedings with its spiky riffs. It’s one of the true guitar-based moments from the latest album and throughout its two minute run time it got the audience bouncing and jumping around with extreme fervour. However, it was with second song, ‘The Great Escape’, that the Concorde 2 fully erupts into wave after wave of adulation. Here is where we see the band at their best: with a monumental indie disco floor-filler and one of the catchiest choruses 00s indie has to offer; Keith Murray exploded into: “I got a great idea/I’m going to wait right here/While everything is adding up,” while every single member of the audience followed him along in unison.
‘Buckle’, the opening number from 2016’s Helter Seltzer, danced through with incredible dynamism, directed by the pounding and fermenting drums and augmented with a jubilant chorus, captivating vocals and a beautiful guitar solo that created a dizzying atmosphere inside Concorde 2. While ‘Chick Lit’, taking us back ten years to 2008, took things up another notch with its eerie, heavy rock mood. In just four songs We Are Scientists showed the crowd four different eras of the band, all different and exciting in their own way.
Of course, halfway through the gig it was evident that a lot of the audience are waiting around for mega-single ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’. They’re, of course, rewarded with the final song just before the encore and it’s certainly worth the wait. A bombastic and euphoric indie-rock banger, it seemed to take everyone back in time to the era when Alex Turner still had a Sheffield accent, people still read the NME and Franz Ferdinand could legitimately headline Reading and Leeds. It seemed to strip years off the crowd, a song with an incredible amount of nostalgic power, creating an untouchable atmosphere.
For final song, ‘Textbook’, frontman Keith Murray entered the crowd with every member of the audience trying to get a touch of him. It’s been 12 years since the release of With Love and Squalor but, on this evidence, it looks like We Are Scientists could be doing this for the next 20 years – and their audience would likely stick with them. If anything, their teeming Concorde 2 gig showed that the American trio’s popularity is not likely to wane any time soon.