After ‘15 years of trying to get to Milton Keynes’, We Are Scientists headlined the Craufurd Arms last week.
The New York duo of guitarist Keith Murray and Chris Cain are poised to release their new album Megaplex this month and headed to Craufurd with their familiar arsenal of indie-rock and amusing interludes.
Forming around the turn of the century, WAS have been regulars on UK shores since the success of their 2006 album, With Love and Squalor. Joining them in MK were Lancashire’s equally entertaining indie pop quartet Lottery Winners.
WAS are among a relatively small group of bands (which includes the likes of punk veterans NOFX) that it’s impossible to judge solely on the strength of the music. If that was the case, they’d easily pass with flying colours.
Murray and Cain also come with the added expectation of a certain onstage banter with each other and the audience.
After joking at the length of time it’s taken them to play in MK, discussion turned to the official phrase of the evening, which somehow – most probably lost in translation – ended up as ‘Nice sweater we’re having’.
Onto the music - any band which can casually drop one of its best known hits, The Great Escape, in as the second song clearly has enough material up their sleeves to know exactly what they’re doing.
While WAS' sound is rooted predominately in hook-laded indie rock, the likes of Buckle and In My Head (the latter which featured later on their set) from their 2016 album Helter Seltzer provided even without a thrashy indie edge the duo are still capable of writing perfect sub-four minute pop.
Other highlights of the set included After Hours and Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt and Dumb Luck.
Ever the professionals, even when WAS paused to debate the rising temperatures inside the Craufurd Arms, Murray explained, “We're not taking off our jackets because we're professionals. This is how it's done in the big league.”
After quickly leaving the stage ahead of an encore, Textbook saw Murray leave his guitar on stage looping a riff as he climbed into the crowd, walking and singing with fans for the finale.
WAS have had almost 20 years to perfect their live show and their gig Craufurd saw them dip into every part of their back catalogue you could hope for.
Have the New York duo played gigs where they’ve eaten into their set time with more humour and on stage ramblings? Yes, but it’s unlikely anyone left a sold out Craufurd Arms on Friday disappointed.
We Are Scientists played:
Your Light Has Changed
The Great Escape
I Don't Bite
It's A Hit
This Scene Is Dead
One In, One Out
No Wait At Five Leaves
Make It Easy
In My Head
Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
Rules Don't Stop