When the shaggy duo of bassist Chris Cain and vocalist/guitarist Keith Murray serenely walked onto the stage you’d have thought they would have carried the presence of a band who has achieved a certain degree of commercial success since their last outing in Vancouver at the Red Room in 2006. The truth is however, We Are Scientists has yet to fully hit the heights many expected them to after their dance-heavy second album, With Love and Squalor!
Since that time they’ve lost a drummer but gained one with even more big-show experience in Razorlight’s Andy Burrows, and created their own series on MTV called Steve Wants His Money, which revolves around Cain and Murray’s escape to England to find money they owe an American man named Steve. It was interesting to note then that the band casually told fans at the loungy Biltmore Cabaret they were touring in search of a new permanent home and gave the audience the chance to put forward why Vancouver can give the band the stability that they so badly need at this point of their career. This was evident when Murray sarcastically quipped that 2010’s Barbara was the bands’ 27th studio album, giving off the vibe that they were tired of being someone’s opening act and performing at clubs like the Biltmore. This may have had something to do with them performing for only an hour but what an hour it was; an energetic
show began at a frantic pace with “Nice Guys”, a tune with heavy guitar licks and catchy lyrics that even the most casual fan could sing along to.
“Ambition” followed next and the slower melodic beats suggest that the band have evolved into a more mature unit; this was certainly the case with the brilliant “Pittsburgh,” a refreshing change of pace that allows Burrows’ disciplined drumming to shine through. The incorporation of past hits “Inaction,” “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” and “This Scene is Dead” all sounded as fresh and exciting as they did four years ago, but it was the “Great Escape” which was the song of the night as hundreds of wild fans bounced up and down uncontrollably. The arguable meaning was that the way forward for We Are Scientists is to maintain their catchy guitar licks and fast-paced lyrics. Meanwhile, it took all of two songs for messes Cain and Murray to get into the sexual innuendo and the Elvis Costello jokes, perhaps proving that the band don’t want to grow up just yet.