We Are Scientists @ O2 Academy, Bristol, 19/03/2014

We Are ScientistsIt's been a weird week at Bristol’s O2 Academy. As I wander in through the main entrance, I notice that not only are tonight's headline act - American indie heroes We Are Scientists – playing, but also Maximo Park and Franz Ferdinand. 2006 much? Having said that, none of these bands are nostalgia acts by any stretch of the imagination, with all three on jaunts to promote new albums. In We Are Scientists’ case, this is the brilliant TV En Francais. Released earlier this month, this is Bristol’s first opportunity to see how the new songs sound live.

There are certain things you expect when you go to a We Are Scientists gig: great songs, Keith's fringe and onstage banter. They’re a band who have got it down to a tee. As anyone who’s been to a We Are Scientists gig will be able to tell you, half of their live charm is down to the fact that their set translates as a stand up performance. As usual, tonight they don’t disappoint.

Opening with new track "Return the Favour" and second album stunner "After Hours", the band proceed to nearly incite a race war by asking how much the English liked the Welsh, and also asking whether Franz Ferdinand have left "the envelope of money they owe us" anywhere around the venue. Pretty normal stuff, then.

Between all this banter, the band play a tight, fun and exciting hits-filled set. When a band has such a large back catalogue as We Are Scientists, there’s obviously a lot of choice when it comes to set lists, but no stone is left unturned this evening. The smattering of new songs, most notably the brilliant, Wolfmother-esque new single "Dumb Luck", slot in nicely with the band’s classic songs, including first album favourites such as "It's a Hit". All the hits from the second and third album are trotted out as well, sounding already like classics.

It's brilliant to see a band that still have so much fun onstage. Whether it's making each other laugh with bizarre stage banter, or the little looks exchanged between the two frontmen, the love and energy in the band is not hidden. Final song, the brilliant "The Great Escape", sums up why We Are Scientists are still a live force to be reckoned with. The huge riff and tight harmonies show a band that have honed their live skills to perfection, stunning everyone with their no nonsense, fast-paced live experienced. If We Are Scientists continue to blow crowds away for another ten years, it's likely it won't just be Keith's hair that's grey.

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