Saturday, May 3, 2014

We Are Scientists @ Electric Owl -- 05/02/14

"...hopefully we convinced them to not wait another four years for a show." was the last thing I said in the blog post the last time We Are Scientists came through town. In 2010.
So I guess not, but the New York three-piece -- one of my favourite bands to come out of the indie rock boom of the mid-00's -- hit the Electric Owl in support of their newest album, TV En Fran├žais.

First up was Scottish trio Paws, for their first time in Vancouver (but they had heard good things from their European tour mates, a local band you may have heard of named Japandroids)
They started hard and fast, and barely slowed down for their half-hour set, with a noisy sound was definitely giving off vibes of 90s alt-rock and grunge, as they thrashed around stage with reckless abandon.
Songs came in short bursts of energy, ending abruptly more often than not, with almost a sense of urgency. The only one that seemed out of place was a bit of a mellower song, which was very obviously written as "the single" even without them introducing it as such.
They put on a really fun set, and I would definitely catch them again if they come through to tour their brand new album Youth Culture Fever. 

Thanks to the curfew on the show, it was not too long after when REO Speedwagon's "Keep On Loving You" blasted over the speakers as the three members of We Are Scientists took the stage.
They kicked things off with a signature tune "Return the Favor", for a set spanning all four of their albums. Their ridiculously catchy indie-rock had people singing along to old favourites "After Hours" and the explosive "Nobody Moves, Nobody Gets Hurt", as well as songs from the new album like the fast-paced, riff-tastic "Dumb Luck".
The humour of Keith Murray (guitar and "golden pipes") and Chris Cain (backup vocals and "bass guitar instrument") also shone through in their banter, with great back and forths, and off-the-cuff humour. It was pretty clear that after over a dozen years of being a band, they still have fun on stage and with each other. They also paused part way through the set to wish drummer Keith Carneage a happy birthday, complete with a cake being delivered and the crowd singing.
As "Impatience" brought the main set came to a close, they were back out with "Dinosaurs" which erupted into an intense ending of shredding guitars, and they wrapped up with the familiar frantic cymbals opening "The Great Escape", from their breakthrough album With Love and Squalor, for another big singalong to end things perfectly.

Sometimes the Electric Owl can be a little hit or miss with their sound, and while it was not bad last night, I found that a few songs in the set were just a little too loud; sometimes drowning out individual members of the band or just being too harsh. But that aside, We Are Scientists definitely still puts on an incredibly fun show; they are a tight band with genuinely funny banter, and songs that will be stuck in your head for the next week.
I can't wait for them to be back in 2018.

setlist
Return the Favor; After Hours; Dumb Luck; Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt; Nice Guys; Sprinkles; Lousy Reputation; Lethal Enforcer; Textbook; Take An Arrow; Chick Lit; Rules Don't Stop; I Don't Bite; Make It Easy; Impatience.
(encore) Dinosaurs; Slow Down; The Great Escape.

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