We Are Scientists 1/12/17

(a) setlist

    1. Make It Easy
    2. Cash Cow
    3. Chick Lit
    4. Buckle
    5. Dumb Luck
    6. Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
    7. Rules Don’t Stop
    8. It’s A Hit
    9. I Don’t Bite
    10. What You Do Best
    11. Textbook
    12. We Need A Word
    13. Impatience
    14. After Hours
    15. The Great Escape


  1. Nice Guys
  2. Too Late

(b) highlights

  • as the kids say these days, We Are Scientists is bae
  • always down for Keith + Chris (and sometimes + Drummer Keith) = comedy hour
  • the crowd was shockingly great – saw the usual faces but a ton of newbies too; it’s cool to think how far this band has come in a lot of ways
  • they played my fav song off the new album, “We Need To Have a Word”!!
  • that encore felt very fresh and new – a nice change from the usual show closer of “After Hours”
  • all-around solid setlist – packed with the usual hits, obviously, but arranged in a new way that kept momentum high and gave new songs room to breathe
  • Christopher Cain: bassist, comedian, curly hair extraordinaire, period.

(c) lowlights

  • this was probably the first time in 10+ years of seeing this band that I thought they looked tired while performing.

(d) overall thoughts

We Are Scientists will always be my band. I’ll always love them, I’ll always see them, no matter what, until the end of time. This isn’t really news. What is interesting abut seeing a band like this one – local heroes of NYC who are and have been supremely underrated for over a decade – is watching all the ways they’ve changed over the years and all the ways they haven’t.

Anyone who’s seen We Are Scientists live will tell you that their show is – for lack of better phrase – a real romp. It’s usually two parts musical act, one part comedy schtick, and one and half parts IDGAF attitude that creates the perfection combination of charm. Keith Murray and Chris Cain have always given off the air that WAS is something fun, a side project that alludes to something everyone slapped together in a garage to blow off some steam and chill with some dudes. The guys are funny, joke around, and are otherwise aloof to what’s happening musically or practically outside the walls of the venue during showtime. This attitude has attracted a disproportionately high male fanbase compared to other indie rock tribes, and a comfort level of performance that has them fit like a glove in any Brooklyn venue on a weekday night.

But anyone who’s actually real fan of WAS know that all of that is just an act. It’s nothing but a farce. Even a surface-level lyrical listen to any of the band’s five studio album shows that this band has genuine heart, touchy-feely emotions, and enough harmonies to make a Beach Boy perk up his ears. Having this understanding of the band’s true selves in light of their performance selves gives every live show a wink-wink, nudge-nudge layer of meta-commentary. And in a strange way, that’s what makes their shows so fun. Yeah, they’re goofy and cracking jokes, and sometimes spend more time on the in-between song banter than playing their actual songs, but the band can’t help but expose themselves on songs like “Textbook,” “Make It Easy,” and “We Need A Word.” They’re the sensitive bros who aren’t too afraid to be sensitive, but they’re gonna crack two jokes for every heartfelt lyric just in case someone actually realizes that these guys genuinely care about their music and their performance. Somewhere along the way, WAS tricked us into thinking they were just two dudes who liked to jam on Saturday nights when they’re really a pair of hard-working musicians who’ve never quite received the comeuppance they deserved.


Bottom line: We Are Scientists are solid musicians who’ve been playing tricks on us for decades, and I can’t wait for the inevitable moment that everyone comes around and awakens to their subtle genius.

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