You don’t really expect persistent rain or this much of a nip and chill this far into the summer. When I picked him up, God Is In The TV lensman Paul Reno even defiantly told me “NO. I absolutely REFUSE to wear anything more than a t-shirt tonight*, it’s JULY for God’s sake!” – luckily, the rain didn’t dampen (sorry) our spirits too much as we made our short walk from the Attenborough Centre to the O2.
After being requested photo ID by the young lady doing guest list (the first time I’ve ever been asked for such a thing in 17 years of doing this!), we made our way into the hall to catch support band The RPMs. Initially, these guys come across like a hybrid of the 60s beat groups and Gin Blossoms, though they mix it up a little and also sound like The Stills at times, as well as any number of MY old bands too. The frontman is memorable, largely because he looks like Zammo from Grange Hill (ask your Dad), and it’s all very pleasant, but therein lies the problem: it is perhaps a tad TOO polite. While there is a clear talent and potential there, it is hard right now to imagine them making too much of a dent in the general public’s consciousness just yet.
So to the main event. What’s not to love about We Are Scientists? Their shows are worth attending for the comedy alone! Of course, it doesn’t hurt either that they are of a naturally gregarious nature, run their own merch stall, are one of the most ‘fan friendly’ bands of the past 20 years and have at least a bucketful of belting, punch-the-air guitar anthems to fall back on. This point is hammered home by the fact that both ‘Chick Lit‘ and ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt‘ – arguably their two most well known numbers – make their appearance within the first half dozen songs of the set.
Much mirth ensued throughout the show, bass player Chris Cain at one point coming out with a tuner/tuna pun that was so hilariously feeble that it made my earlier rain-related one sound like it had been penned by a team of top comedy writers. Frontman Keith Murray was visibly tickled by this perhaps deliberately terrible gag and kept shaking his head and chuckling, which was kind of endearing. And the ‘Dan’s birthday’ gag that they allegedly do at every gig** was as comically ineffectual as they have no doubt come to expect. You’ve never heard a more amusingly long winded – and respectful – way for an artist to ask for less kick-drum either!
This was a real fun show, the newer songs (in particular, ‘Buckle‘) flirting magnificently with their older bedfellows like ‘The Great Escape‘, ‘It’s A Hit‘ and ‘After Hours‘, really serving to prove that, if anyone out there has been foolish enough to write this band off as has-beens, then that truly is their loss. These guys aren’t just scientists; in a live environment, they’re goddamn magicians.
*He did have OTHER clothes on, obviously.
**This may not necessarily be strictly true.
PHOTO CREDITS: PAUL RENO
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