We Are Scientists
Sandwiched somewhere between this and wanton destruction of fan signage (masquerading as anger management therapy), there is a gig lurking in here. And not your entirely typical gig either. Oh, no, WAS don't do the nice normal thing. None of this turning up, rattling off a couple of their tracks and then disappearing for them. Instead we open up with a bit of Phil Collins. Yes, something I never thought I would write, but the lads walk on stage to the strains of 'Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now)', before launching into their own rendition of the same.
I blame it on being so close to Halloween (for which some people have made the effort and dressed up, but not enough to please the Scientists). The support band, The Blood Arm are at it as well, with our front man demonstrating his forthcoming nuptials by walking down an aisle in the audience during their rendition of 'Angela'. Of course this insanity is merely temporary, and in no way catching - isn't it? Nope, it's permanent and infectious. This rollicking set is punctuated only by the Jaggeresque stylings of frontman Nathaniel, and highlighted by their ridiculously catchy tunes, reminiscent of, ooh, a bit of The Killers, The Fall, Franz Ferdinand and Queen lashed together. 'Stay Put' and the disgracefully, addictively sleazy 'Suspicious Character' are all greasy rock-blues-funk that should come with parental advice warnings.
Suitably limbered up by this, the crowd is feverishly anticipating the arrival of We Are Scientists, and (as described above) they deliver in spades. Obviously following Phil is going to be difficult. But not impossible for our trio of heroes. Having seen these guys almost overwhelmed by the size of the Ulster Hall on their previous Belfast appearance on the NME tour, they rip the Mandela to shreds with cutting comments, snappy between song banter and a pocketful of songs.
And not just the oldies from debut album 'Love and Squalor' but a couple of new ones as well. The Belfast crowd, praised (apparently every night regardless of where they are) for its singing ability, fails to deliver on the new track 'Tonight, Tonight' with the exception of one guy in red who fails to keep time. Ah well, we'll just go mad for the rest of the songs instead.
The hits, like, 'It's A Hit' (winner of cockiest song title of the year 2005), 'This Scene Is Dead' and the monstrous 'Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt', are all the perfect excuses for the crowd's attempt to destroy the dear old Mandela through synchronised moshing. As, to be fair, are 'Inaction', 'Worth The Wait' and 'Cash Cow'. And closer 'The Great Escape' is the cue for mass crowd surfing - I feel for the poor security at this point, a quiet night has gone to pot.
And that's it, isn't it? Oh no no no no no no. As someone said, there's more. Returning in their suits and ties, armed only with alcohol and microphones we are treated to a rendition of Boyz II Men's 'End of The Road' featuring shared vocals, delightful harmonies and a huge big sing-along from the crowd, before the lads are joined on stage by the support bands for the final couple of choruses. At times bizarre, mad, but fun. Last time they were here, I said "We Are Scientists - wait and see". Now it's We Are Scientists - here and now.
Photos by Alan Maguire