Gig Review by David Stone with Photography by Jessica Stone

New York rockers We Are Scientists packed out Bristol’s Thekla on Wednesday 2nd May, turning the first leg of their Megaplexpedition into an impromptu birthday bash!

The trio arrived in the city fresh off the launch of their sixth album Megaplex, bringing some fresh tracks, stacks of banter and multiple rousing renditions of Happy Birthday from the crowd! With the headliners treating fans to a short pre-show acoustic set at nearby Rough Trade records, it was up to another trio to warm up the early birds in Thekla’s converted cargo hold: Newcastle-based rock band The Pale White.

We Are Scientists

Arriving on stage clad in black, they picked up contrasting white instruments and tore into a series of tracks featuring urgent, occasionally frantic riffs and rhythms overlaid with cool, measured vocals.

The Pale White hits a real sweet spot with that combination, making them super-accessible even on a first listen. Their half-hour set flew by, from opening track Turn It Around through to closer That Dress there was a lot to enjoy, leaving the impression that this is a band well worth checking out.

The Pale White

With the dancefloor fully stocked and the classic tones of the Marcel’s Blue Moon filling the room, We Are Scientists took to the stage and dove straight into their new material. Your Light Has Changed carries all of the band’s classic stripped-back rock style, serving as a high-energy introduction to the set alongside classic With Love and Squalor track The Great Escape.

At this point, the band took a short break for frontman Keith Murray to announce that it’s drummer Keith Carne’s birthday – inviting the crowd to… sing over all of their songs with Happy Birthday, all night long.

Tongue-in-cheek attempts at self-sabotage aside, the audience quickly latched onto the opportunity for birthday celebrations. Before the band could launch into ‘Buckle’, the whole room was singing Happy Birthday whilst the birthday boy provided his own accompaniment on the drums.

We Are Scientists

Launching back into the rest of the set, ‘the We Are Scientists band’ mixed new tracks Now or Never, No Wait at Five Leaves and One In, One Out with some of their most popular tracks from the previous five albums, punctuated with their famous brand of dry humour and the occasional repeat rendition of Happy Birthday to Keith from the audience.

It’s a Hit, Rules Don’t Stop and Inaction all found a spot in a stacked setlist spanning 15 years of releases, alongside some expertly blended back-to-back tracks including Too Late and This Scene is Dead.

We Are Scientists

The trio closed the main set with the noughties indie-dancefloor classic Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt to a huge pop from the crowd, followed by another round of Happy Birthday whilst fans eagerly awaited their return for the encore.

Returning to the stage with a bottle of champagne and a fistful of flutes to serve it in, the band shared out some bubbly and launched into three final tracks: Dumb Luck, Nice Guys and Textbook, the last of which saw Murray hop into the crowd to perform with the fans, before returning to the stage to wave goodnight.

We Are Scientists

Shows at the Thekla always feel a bit special. The intimate stage setup and rugged metal surroundings make for a unique atmosphere that’s a perfect accompaniment to a band like We Are Scientists, who know exactly how to put on a high-energy rock show with an interactive feel.

The UK leg of the Megaplexpedition tour runs until Sunday, 13th May. For tickets, head to wearescientists.com.

We Are Scientists

The Pale White Setlist:
Turn It Around / 
Panic Attack
 / Wisdom Tooth
 / Loveless
 / Peace Of Mind
 / Reaction / 
I’ve Become
 / That Dress

We Are Scientists Setlist:
Your Light Has Changed
 / The Great Escape
 / Buckle / 
I Don’t Bite
 / Now or Never
 / It’s a Hit
 / Rules Don’t Stop
 / Inaction
 / Too Late / This Scene Is Dead / 
Make It Easy
 / One In, One Out / After Hours
 / No Wait at Five Leaves / 
Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt

 / Dumb Luck / 
Nice Guys / 
Textbook

We Are Scientists

See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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