Live: We Are Scientists @ The Institute, Birmingham

If music doesn’t work out, least they can fall back on a career in comedy

© Simon Fullerton Photography

Another week, another trip to Birmingham, this time to see the New York based indie rockers, We Are Scientists on their latest European tour, celebrating the release of TV en Francias, the band’s fifth studio album, that takes a more melodic look at the post punk revival scene, containing all the traits that made them big in the naughties, with hints of some evolution as a group.

Arriving at the Institute, I was surprised to see a long que of people who can only be described at 80’s punks, I wasn’t sure if the band had grown a strange hardcore following or if I had turned up on the wrong night, eventually I discovered that there was in-fact three different gigs on that night, with the punk rockers seeing either Soilwork or Bonafide, leaving me with a crowd of people who much more suited the genre that We Are Scientists helped form back in the mid 2000’s.

The Heartbreaks – In The Studio
© Michael Williams Photography

It wasn’t long before the first band had hit the stage, an alt-rock band from Morecambe, Lancashire, by the name of The Heartbreaks, a band which sadly wasn’t helped by bad sound management, with the singer Matthew Whitehouse’s vocals getting drowned out by the backing music, quickly meaning that the half empty room had become more focused on other things, I find it’s always a band sign when the audience starts taking ‘selfies’ instead of watching them perform, since that night I have checked out some of their recorded and it’s not bad, they just need to work on their live performances so that they don’t loose the crowd quite so easily, I personally spent a good portion of the set trying to figure out if the drummer was Simon Helberg, I’m 80% sure he wasn’t, but there’s always a chance.


Next up was a band, famous for their love show, indie funk band Superfood, a band playing to their home crowd and clearly much more comfortable performing live, treating the now full room to a set of Brit-pop songs, containing perfect melodies and funk influences, combining to produce songs that you can’t help but dance along to, especially their self titled track Superfood and their newly released single TV, both of which are cracking indie anthems that have a great summer feel and sound almost reminiscent of Blur in their heyday and has meant that I can’t wait to see them perform again that this years Secret Garden Party.

As the lights went down, there was an almighty cheer from the crowd as Keith, Chris and Andy made their way onto the stage, launching straight into crowd favourite After Hours, before firing out some songs from their latest album TV en Francias, then back to another of their bigger hits Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt, at this stage I got worried that they were firing through their big hitters to quickly, but they did manage to keep the level of excitement and fun at a high with a mixture of old and new, which lasted right to their final tracks, this was helped impart by some of the best audience interaction that I have witnessed in a long time, laughing and joking around with members of the crowd and each other, totally at home in-front of the packed out room, flowing in confidence that only an American could be, providing some pretty hilarious moments that included talking about the famous Balti Belt, crowd members mothers and Italian accents, leading me to believe that if the music career doesn’t work out, they could at least fall back on a career in comedy.

Their new material went down well and has already seemed to of picked up some crowd favourites, including Return the Favour and Courage both producing singing and dancing in the crowd, though not as well as their hits from previous albums, though this may be down to the short amount of time between the album release on the 3rd of March and the start of the tour, with future tours benefiting from their songs filtering through to the masses.

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