Live Review: We Are Scientists with Uninhabitable Mansions at Black Cat, Washington DC – 21 January 2010
We Are Scientists made Washingtonians very happy last Thursday night when they stopped by the Black Cat. The D.C. gig was the second of only three gigs on the ‘Big Fuckin’ Deal Tour’ (the other cities hit being Philadelphia and Hoboken, New Jersey, not including a free show shoehorned in between D.C. and Hoboken at Penn State – lucky university students). Going along with the ‘limited engagement’ feel of this tour, bassist Chris Cain told me an extremely limited number of tour t-shirts had been made for this tour (30) and that I had snagged #26 (my lucky number even). The band have a new album coming out this spring; this and other topics were explored in an interview I had with Chris and singer/guitarist Keith Murray shortly before the show (a 2-part interview is forthcoming). But let’s get down to business with the gig report, shall we?
Opening this night for WAS were Uninhabitable Mansions, a Brooklyn six-piece who, judging by their MySpace, can take a joke. (Completely ignore the genre ‘Death Metal’ listed directly below their name.) I can see why were chosen for support: they engage in funny band member banter between songs, a trademark of WAS shows. Highlights of their eight song set were ‘The Brain is a Slow Wave’, starting off with gentle guitar crowds but then ripping into raucous rock ‘n’ roll, and ‘Do You Have a Strategy’, which was just feel good guitar pop.
Later the band made fun of their cumbersome band name, with cute as a button keyboardist/backing vocalist Annie Hart shouting out, “eight syllables of fun!” to refer to themselves and their singer/guitarist Robbie Guertin countering with, “that might be our new motto. We were thinking about putting that on t-shirts.” Just as cheeky was the band’s closing number, ‘We Already Know’, that bears a resemblance to R.E.M.’s ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)’ for Guertin’s vocal calisthenics on this one. The band have an album out called ‘Nature is a Taker’ available on U.S. iTunes.
Following a brief intermission during which I met and chatted with two massive fans who had traveled all the way from California expressively for the show, the lights went down and the now-packed Cat rang out with crowd cheers as We Are Scientists as a three-piece emerged. Founding Scientists Murray and Cain were joined by Danny Allen, who Cain had explained to me earlier was on temporary loan from Australian band Youth Club. Straight out of the gate they played ‘Jack and Ginger’, a new song featuring sweet guitar riffs from Murray.
I did mention the banter between songs, yes? Well, right after the first song, a fan stage right shouted, “I love Chris!” This had the effect of causing Murray to break out yelling, wounded and in mock rage, “what the heck are you doing on the Keith Murray side? You all know I stand on this side of the stage and Chris stands on the other!” Resounding laughter all around. Another punter complaint of “D.C. needs to dance!” was met with Chris’s intro to ‘Inaction’ of “if D.C. can’t dance to this one, it ain’t our fault!”
Highlights of the night for me included ‘Let’s See It’, featuring killer guitar licks and its trademark “oh oh ohs,” and ‘Chick Lit’, the song that will forever be linked to the tonnes of wayward Pomeranians that appeared in its promo video. And then in what felt like a blink of an eye, the gig that I had been waiting for with much impatience (no pun intended) for weeks was over. In total, they previewed four new songs from their forthcoming third major album due out in the spring, and all fans in attendance including myself left abuzz with anticipation for the new release. Bring it on, Scientists!
After the jump: set list and photos.
We Are Scientists Set List
Jack and Ginger (new song)
This Scene is Dead
Let’s See It
I Don’t Bite (new song)
Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
Nice Guys (new song)
It’s a Hit
Rules Don’t Stop (new song)
The Great Escape
Uninhabitable Mansions Photos:
We Are Scientists Photos: