We Are Scientists Review

Anfield is a big stage and my away team needed to pull it out of the bag and get themselves that vital away goal against an outfit that catch them out year after year. And they did. With that in mind, I made my way down to Southampton Guildhall with a fairly huge smile plastered across my face to see a different kind of challenge. Could We Are Scientists still be the same quirky individuals with one less?

Michael Tapper was never the charisma, charm, wit or backbone of the American trio, yet it’s unfair to claim his role as insignificant. The loss of the aptly named drummer has led to what can be referred to as a band crisis; an inability to recruit to such a standard once more has seen them fall short of the mark; coinciding rather sourly with a publicity starved second album and scarcely sold out shows.

However, WAS were never ones to take defeat on the chin and await the next hurdle; going as far to say they would probably jump straight through it again, just to let you know they could. Gladly this show was very much old school WAS. Guildhalls can destroy performances, with bad acoustics and unfortunately terrible soundchecks. Un-hazed, the lads managed to whip out hits from current and previous records to a pleased and matured fan base.

Concerns lie in their familiarity. Keith has always been the cute, quirky yet slightly eccentric horny frontman, with sidekick Chris managing to reveal geekish tendencies all night long. Tapper may have been the silent stick holder, but without him, the banter between bass and lead could hardly match up. “It’s A Hit”, “Lousy Reputation” and closing track “The Great Escape” looked every bit worthy of the stage, but newer songs taken from “Brain, Thrust Mastery” failed to go down as well. With bad sound quality and unrecognisable tracks, the audience were always going to struggle.

“After Hours” became a massive radio favourite and remained much-loved last night; regardless of the fact a random fifth guy walked on stage and started playing acoustic. I say fifth because as of yet, I haven’t included the unknown second guitarist, who joined in now and then, adding depth and sound to the live performance. He played keyboard and effects every now and then also; giving a much different act to the one I caught 2 Novembers ago.

And so it’s hard to call. They were good, but let down by sound aspects and band factors. The new material sounded promising, possibly lacking in hook laden choruses but the record could tell an entirely different story. But the overriding factor lies in the men. When the lights shone down on Chris and Keith centre stage- everything felt much more homely. They are the heart and soul of We Are Scientists; and if that’s to change, let us know everything we need to about band member number 3 (and 4 & 5 if necessary) ASAP.