I wasn’t intending to go to a gig on Saturday night, I had never heard of 100 Fables. But I did, and now I have and I’m very glad.
I was in town on Saturday afternoon for my drum lesson, didn’t have any particular plans after that, and the friend I had been due to meet in the evening had called to say she had to work. On my way to the drum studio, I saw a message from another friend asking if anyone was free to see 100 Fables, a band she had a personal connection to through her brother, but assured me they were worth watching. “A bit like Chvrches, electro-pop” was how she sold them to me. Well why not?
We met up and made our way to the venue, catching up on the way, not really bothered about the support bands. We arrived in the smaller of the 2 ABC halls just as the last of 3 support bands were setting up and I was introduced to Lyndsey, lead singer of the headliners. She was a bit nervous and keen for everyone to have a good time. A quick hello and she had to head back to staff the merch stand.
We weren’t expecting much from the support, I think they were called Sway. They had a small but extremely enthusiastic group of supporters up front, I suspect consisting chiefly of friends and family. The verdict from our group was “not bad, but nothing special”. I have seen worse support for bigger bands in larger venues.
They were packing them in that night, so after a short break it was time for 100 Fables to start. The room was suddenly busier, with people vying for position near the small stage. We had been hanging back near the bar, but moved forward for the main event. The anticipation and excitement in the crowd was tangible and infectious. I began to sense that this was going to be something special.
100 Fables took to the stage to a huge, encouraging cheer. They are a 4-piece with Lyndsey on vocals, a girl on guitar and 2 boys on bass and drums. They launched straight into an enthusiastic set, less electro-pop and more punk / rock with 80s inflections. Lyndsey was the obvious focal point and inhabited each song with wide-eyed facial expressions and wild gesticulations. She held her mic in her hand throughout, refusing to be tied to a stand, making full use of the limited space to rock out, dance, approach the audience and sing directly into their eyes. Any shyness or nervousness she had displayed earlier had vanished. This was a woman who came alive on the stage, giving an energy and vitality to the performance that I haven’t seen for a long time. Jen informed me that Lyndsey used to sign back-up for Susan Boyle. I couldn’t picture it, somehow, but agreed with the point she was making, that the girls has a talent.
The crowd were willing the band on, with raucous applause and whoops after each song. Most were singing along, clearly dedicated fans thrilled to see their wee band perform so well at, for them, a huge gig.
It was only a short set, perhaps 30 minutes, with a couple of cover songs added on the end after the audience gave the traditional Glaswegian “one more tune” chant, even though the band hadn’t actually left the stage.
This is what I love about living in/near Glasgow. A thriving live music scene and the fact that you can rock up at short notice and have your socks knocked off by a band that you hadn’t heard of earlier that day.
I had never heard of Stag and Dagger, but when We Are Scientists announced that they’d be playing at it this year, I was of course going to check it out. It’s one of those multi-venue indoor city festivals. An indoor festival in Glasgow makes a lot of sense at any time of the year.
Once the rest of the programme was announced I was disappointed that I didn’t recognise too many other names on the bill, and that WAS were not even headlining one of the venues. Oh well, times change, and for me it would be a good chance to discover some new music.
I wasn’t able to get there too early but arrived in plenty time to pick up my wristband and catch the band on before WAS, which was GUN. Gun/GUN are old school Scottish country-ish rockers. They were good (reminded me of one of my favourite Frasier quotes when Roz tells her sister “For your information Classic Rock is both classic and it rocks!”) but had the same problem I find with most straight-forward rock music – it can get a bit dull and predictable. They were clearly very experienced and talented musicians, and the lead singer had swagger in buckets but for me it was missing something. It was also strange to hear a band from the era when singing in an American accent was de rigeur, even if you were from Coatbridge. I’m so used to hearing the likes of Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic comfortably singing in their own accents that it was bizzare to remember that once upon a time not too long ago people affected the other to be taken seriously. And I suppose if you have adopted that for a number of years you can’t very well change suddenly.
So, the older demographic classic rock crowd dispersed and the younger indie crowd filtered in, as well as the ones who were getting in early for the later bands. I had loitered at the back for Gun, but took up my usual position at the front for WAS. I’m going to try to hold back on the WAS -love cos at the time of writing I’m en route to see them again in a stand-alone gig in Manchester, so will likely write about that too. (I did – find it here) So We Are Scientists highlights – new stuff sounds WAY better live (I hate that this is the case cos not everyone gets the chance to see them live and experience the full force of live versions) I love the edgier, harder sound, old stuff re-worked is immense, they opened with a killer version of The Scene is Dead and we got a banging new version of Impatience too. Other Keith is their best drummer yet (Ok, I never saw Tapper but we can be pretty sure he’s not coming back) I really hope they keep him, I love the different quality he brings and he looks like he’s having a blast doing it. It was Other Keith’s birthday the next day, so Original Keith led us all in a rendition of Happy Birthday.
They only had a 45 minute slot but jam packed it full of oldies, a few from Barbara, and 3 new songs from the new album – Buckle, In My Head and Classic Love.
I had a bit of time before the next band I wanted to catch, so I hung around at the venue a bit in case any of the band were around. Original Keith and Chris came out but were in a rush to go and get some food so didn’t stay. A few people caught them and asked for photos, I ended up taking a group photo for someone but didn’t get to speak to the guys at all. I was just about to pop into a shop to get a snack to fuel me for the next couple of bands when I saw Other Keith heading towards me. He remembered me from the last couple of times in Glasgow (read all about them here and here) and we had a quick chat about the new record, his dad (hi Tom!) his Scottish roots and birthdays. I told him I was going to the Manchester gig so would see him again soon.
Next up was We Were Promised Jetpacks (best band name ever) at the Art School. I honestly can’t remember if I’ve seen WWPJ before. I have a vague recollection of looking for them at a festival or some event. In any case, they are a band that have been on my radar to check out properly. The Art School was packed, so I was glad I got there early. I took a position leaning against the sound booth. Not a great vantage point but I was tired and thought I might have to sneak out a bit early to make sure I got in to Slow Club later on.
WWPJ were really good. I have no idea if they were playing old stuff or new stuff, but they clearly have their dedicated fans who were loving every minute of it. I could have done with a bit longer to really get a feel for them and how they were different from other Scottish indie-rock bands, but I liked the sound of them, especially the more sweeping, landscape-evoking ones.
I was keen to catch Slow Club because I’d heard a few friends talking about them and I had a quick Spotify listen and really liked their sound. So it was over to the CCA for this one, by now I was really digging the indoor-ness of this festival due to the intermittent Glasgow rain and it was cool to just flash a wristband and take your pick of small venues and different bands. The CCA was surprisingly empty for a headliner but Slow Club were very impressive. 1 girl, 1 guy, a couple of guitars and a keyboard. They sang beautiful melodic songs of love and loss and actual hunger, as was explained. They were funny, cool and magical. It was such a chilled out way to end a busy day of very different kinds of music.
So all in all it was a successful day, a rocking We Are Scientists gig, and finally getting to see 2 other bands that I had been meaning to catch for a while. The format of the day was well planned, all smallish venues around Sauchiehall Street as well as the ABC as the focal point. I’ll be keeping an eye out next year and even if I don’t immediately recognise names I might just go along anyway, I’m always on the lookout for new music.
Yes! Another post about We Are Scientists! You’ve missed them haven’t you?
My favourite band did make an appearance in Glasgow in July last year, but seeing as I had just had baby no. 2 a few weeks earlier I really wasn’t in a position to go. First time in 6 years that they’ve played Glasgow and I’ve not been there. However in October last year they released details of a full UK tour, complete with Glasgow date so I was determined to make this one. Then I saw that they were offering a VIP option. For a few extra pounds (ok, more than a few) you got gig ticket, t-shirt, entry into soundcheck and a meet & greet with the band. I considered this for about 3 seconds. I remembered I had just the right amount of money sitting in my PayPal account after selling my maternity clothes on eBay. It was like fate.
Suddenly, it is March and the date is looming. After chasing up the ticket broker and WAS Management, I finally got through the details of the VIP package, just 2 days before the big day. I started to get nervous. Why? Because I had been listening to the new album and had mixed feelings about it. Because I was worried I would be surrounded by squealing teenage fangirls. Because I was worried the guys might not be on form. Ok, by that I mean Keith. If he wasn’t into it the whole thing might be a bust. The international WAS fan network came to my rescue and assured me it would be fine.
We made the usual military-grade arrangements to take care of the kids which inevitably went slightly awry (older one needing the toilet at the last minute with no toilets to be found, younger one refusing to feed) so I was running late, and literally running up the length of Sauchiehall Street to get to the ABC in time. As I arrived panting at the door, the huge security guard took one look at me, “Ruth?” and ushered me inside. They had waited on me. Thanks Mr Burly Security Guard Sir! I was taken upstairs and handed a goodie pack. As well as the promised t-shirt, there was a 2nd t-shirt, the VIP access pass, a set of Brain Thrust Mastery badges and a 7″ vinyl Something About You/Let Me Win, luckily with download code enclosed cos I don’t have a record player.
Just as I was checking my haul we got ushered down to the floor to watch the soundcheck part. One of my fears was allayed as I realised that my fellow VIPs were all 20-/30-somethings with no squealers in sight. Unfortunately they had all come in pairs, so I was stood like a lemon on my own. One of the many times I wished my international WAS fanclubmates lived a wee bit closer.
Anyhoo, Keith, Chris and new Keith duly emerged. They said hi, we didn’t quite know what to do, so we mumbled and smiled and waited. There wasn’t so much a soundcheck as a brief performance. I had imagined something technical happening. I was kind of looking forward to that, the frustrated musician in me would really like to know how the set up for a gig works, but they launched straight into playing a song for us. Frankly, I have no idea which song. I was still out of breath and flustered from running up the road, the transition from mother-of-2 to gig-goer had taken all of 10 minutes and I was still catching up with myself. I think it was from BTM. The 2nd song was Central AC. I remember because I had almost composed myself by then and I wasn’t expecting that song. I was pleased, though because I like it, especially live. We still didn’t know what to do, so we gave a smattering of applause. Then Keith (damn, why did they have to pick a new drummer with the same name, this is going to get tedious – Keith Keith is Keith M, new Keith is Keith C) said, “shall we mingle?” and they came down. Soundcheck/mini performance over.
We were stood awkwardly in small groups/pairs, there was only about 8 of us, and like I said the others had all come in pairs. We were spread out so the 3 band members took a group/pair each and the others waited. It was like a weird speed-dating set-up. I was standing nearest to one pair, and Keith M came over to us first, then he moved on and we were joined by Keith C and Chris. Then later there was a more generalised mingle.
The girl from our wee group was a bit nervous, the boy didn’t say much, which left me. I tried not to dominate the conversation, but couldn’t really help it. So Keith M and I talked about Glasgow, food, allergies, Greggs, earplugs at concerts, seagulls & pigeons and chips. At one point he said he was going to go off later in search of a hand juicer. I briefly hoped he had re-evaluated his lifestyle and had embarked on a healthy juice diet, but no, it was for juicing limes for margaritas. We discussed the merits of John Lewis vs Argos. Later, I joined in a conversation he was having with another pair, about movies on the Sci-Fi Channel. He was adamant that Debbie Gibson and Tiffany starred in a monster movie. I thought this sounded like something he dreamt up, but turns out it is in fact true.
Other things I learned from Keith M:
Chris Urbanowicz has a severe peanut allergy which has lead him to be hospitalised on tour when the rider hasn’t been properly prepared.
He prefers Glasgow to Toronto
He isn’t a fan of Greggs
He feels sorry for Glasgow pigeons but once a “cute but obese” dove sat on his window ledge in New York for 2 hours. He stressed how cute is was several times and described is as being the size of a grapefruit. I suspect he may have had a drink that day
He has never heard of John Lewis, is aware of Argos, but doesn’t have time for the catalogue business
He has awful taste in movies
He really likes Margaritas
Keith C fits in with the others like he has been there all along. He is just like them, it’s kind of uncanny. He was of course lovely, asking all about us and chatting about drink drive limits, maternity leave, drumming and sleeping (or not) on tour busses, the difference between the West End of Glasgow and Sauchiehall Street,
Things I learned from Keith C:
When he’s not touring with WAS he teaches drumming to adults and children, including a baby/toddler class
He can say the word “gig” with an authentic Glaswegian accent, claims Scottish blood
Chris was the last one we spoke to. He explained how it was their new management’s idea to do these meet & greets, but he thought it was a good idea cos going out to meet fans after shows was often becoming unmanageable.
Things I learned from Chris:
Adam Aaronson (ex-drummer no. 2) now lives in Utah where he has trained as a therapist for “troubled youths”
He talks about Stravaigin like a local, complete with proper pronunciation
Once we had chatted for a while, the support bands were coming on to do their soundcheck, so we took some photos.
Just at the last minute I remembered to hand over the book I had wanted to give them, it had been to London and Brighton with me 3 years ago but I never got the chance then, so I took it now. I explained to Keith M that last time I saw them in Glasgow I had given Chris a creative writing anthology featuring my friend. This time I gave Keith a novel I had read a few years ago and had really liked. Something to while away the hours on the tour bus. He thanked me and asked a bit about the book. Keith C was pleased, said it would draw him away from the Parker (I think these?) books, to which Keith M tried to explain about a series of novels he is currently addicted to. We were all being ushered out, so we all shook hands and said goodbye for the time being.
I had just over an hour to kill before doors opened, so I stashed my goodie pack in my car, grabbed a bite to eat then headed back to the venue. I thought about staying back on the raised bit by the bar, but in the end the barrier was the only place to be. Took up a position “Chris side”.
The support bands were The Heartbreaks and Superfood, neither of whom I had heard of, but both were surprisingly good. I will add them to my list of bands to check out further.
Although the Meet & Greet had gone well I still have some apprehension about the gig. I am not uncritical of WAS. I admit, the new album hasn’t grabbed me. I only really liked a few songs, and even then they weren’t ranking high for me. I could see the potential of them as live songs, but overall I was ambivalent about the album. Also, there’s always a chance that Keith (M) is being moody and that doesn’t make for a good show. Once they came on stage, however, I could see that it was going to be fine. Keith spoke to the crowd first – always a good sign, and from the outset he was laughing, joking, bouncing around and soaking in the atmosphere. I relaxed. I could feel this was going to be a good one.
It was better than a good one. It was one of the best ones I have seen them do. Up there with the last Glasgow ABC gig, which was one of my best gigs ever, of any band. I’ll try not to gush too much, but they were on top form. They work very well as a trio, I REALLY hope they keep Keith C on board, cos he is an excellent drummer, I like the sound he brings to the songs – old and new – and he just gels so well. He’s the….*counts carefully*…4th drummer I’ve seen with them and must proclaim him to be the best. Adam was fine but always acted like a hired hand (which he was, to be fair), Danny was lovely but didn’t make his own mark, Andy was also lovely but too fecking busy to concentrate and I can’t forgive him for getting too drunk to play and ruining a gig I had travelled the length of the country to see. Keith C has his own take on the songs and when you have only 3 of them up there, that is really important to the overall sound and direction of the band. Chris was, well, just Chris. Steady, funny, silly dances, groovy moves and bizarre stories involving Bon Jovi’s pronunciation of “Glasgow”. And Keith. As I said, Keith makes or breaks WAS performances. Last night Keith reminded me why I love this band so much. He made the songs of TV en Francais come alive in the way that I hoped he would. He played his beautiful, beautiful Telecaster like an absolute boss. What I DO like about TVeF is the heavier guitar sound, and to see Keith play those riffs and hooks was an absolute pleasure and a joy. He rocked out harder that I have seen before and was having a ball doing so. His voice sounds better live than it does on the record. How is that even possible? The vocals on Courage make me cringe when I hear it recorded but for some inexplicable reason on stage he manages to belt out each song with a strength and clarity that just doesn’t come across on the album. You always know a good gig when Keith is bouncing about so much he has to sprint back to the mic to sing his next line. He missed a few words last night but nobody gave a damn because we were all singing with him.
They played a good mix of old and new, reworking some old ones with new, heavier sound to keep the feel of the new ones, which I really liked. They played Textbook, which I don’t think I’ve ever heard all the way through properly without Keith disappearing into the crowd. They played songs I haven’t listened to for ages and had forgotten how much I loved, like Can’t Lose.
One poor sod in the audience got caught up in an exchange between Keith M and Chris and ended up on the stage with Chris’ bass around his neck. In general there was much love and appreciation of the Glasgow crowd from the guys. From what they were saying beforehand, this is a genuine love of Glasgow. According to Keith M, his mum texted him that morning “cos I know how much you love Glasgow”. The love was mutual.
After a 90 minute set, including a 3 song encore ending on The Great Escape, it was all over. A sizable crowd had gathered outside hoping to meet the guys, but satisfied with my VIP experience I headed home, the warm glow of a great gig keeping me going through the foggy night.
Oh geez where do I start? Well if you read my previous post you’ll now be aware of my We Are Scientists obsession. I’ve been waiting 2 and a half years to see them live again. Well I went along to an In-Store performance back in June (did I write about that, I don’t think I did?) but it’s been 2 and a half years since I saw them properly live. They have been touring all over the States and Europe and then they finally came over to the UK. I booked my tickets for these gigs about 4 months ago so the anticipation has been building for some time. Added to that my internet-based We Are Scientists friends in America and Europe had been blogging / tweeting / facebooking and discussion-forum-posting about their experiences, giving tantalising glimpses into the songs from the newest album (Barbara, available in all good record shops and online!) and meetings with Keith, Chris and their new touring drummer Danny Allen. Not to mention much swooning and mopping of brows over Aaron Pfenning from support act Rewards. So finally I got on the train and headed London-wards for the first leg of my very own EuroWAStravaganza*.
We Are Scientists, London Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 21st November 2010
I have only ever been to gigs in Glasgow and Dundee, so although I lived in London for a year and have visited numerous times the whole gig-going experience there was new to me. First impressions – Londoners get there early! In Glasgow I am used to people drifting in right up until the main act comes on, usually after 9pm or closer to 10pm. We arrived at the Empire and it was absolutely packed! So my aim of getting there and securing a spot on the barrier / near the front were dashed. Second impressions – I have never seen so many white people all together in London. It was a bit unnerving, like I was back in Dundee…. Anyway we wheedled our way as far to the front as possible but had to stop about 4/5 rows back cos people were starting to give us evils. Rewards had been the first support band but he must have started about 4pm cos we totally missed him. I didn’t think we were that late, but the 2nd support act were well underway when we arrived.
Not too long a wait and We Are Scientists took to the stage. I must have had the biggest grin on my face when Keith and Chris walked on. The grin faded slightly when I realised that I could only just about see Keith’s head from where I was standing, I could only see Chris if I stood on tip-toes and craned my neck. I couldn’t see Danny at all. Londoners are tall. And the guy in front of me had incredibly bouffant hair that totally blocked my view. Oh well, I’d just have to look at Keith the whole time. Tragedy.
Unfortunately there were some sound problems at the beginning. In fact throughout I think – Keith’s vocals were really quiet for the first couple of songs and his guitar fluctuated and sounded all wrong and disjointed on and off all through the show. It took me while to recognise the songs when they started which is unusual, normally all it takes is the first note or chord and I’m away. So that was a bit weird, but it wasn’t that bad and got a bit better as they went on.
It was great hearing the songs from Barbara in all their full-on glory, I’ve only heard them recorded or acoustic before. They played quite a lot of the new stuff, but the crowd around me didn’t seem to be into it. I was singing my heart out to every line and they started talking among themselves. Cheeky kids. It was clear that some people hadn’t heard any WAS material since With Love & Squalor 4 years ago, so when Nobody Move or It’s A Hit were played they went crazy with pushing and shoving and throwing beer all over the place. We ended up sliding sideways a bit to avoid being completely crushed. My view got even worse but I didn’t fear for my life. We ended up near some girls who were dancing and singing to all the songs, even the new ones so I felt a bit better.
Then I heard an intro that I didn’t recognise. Was it the dodgy sound system? Were they doing a cover? No, wait, that sounds like..no it can’t be…it is, it’s PITTSBURGH!!!! I could not believe it. Pittsburgh is a slowish track from Barbara that I really like. It has this spine-tingling opening and although the lyrics are essentially about sex the music and the arrangement are just beautiful. They’s played it acoustically at the In-Store and I was just captivated by Keith’s voice au naturalle (cos they had some problem with equipment he wasn’t using a mic or amp) so I have loved it ever since but the word on the street (well, the internet) was that they played it in these kind of shows rarely, if ever, so I wasn’t expecting it. But they did and it was awesome and I was a happy bunny.
I was also glad they played Central AC, I wasn’t expecting that either. It’s the last track from Babs and not a single either, and to be honest when I listened to it on the album I couldn’t really get into it for ages, but once I understood the lyrics (thanks Adrian!) it clicked with me (not the actual lyrics, it’s about getting drunk and not knowing what you did the night before. Not all of their songs are ambiguous and open to interpretation…) and it worked really well live, had a nice energy and I was very smug for being the only one near me to sing along to all the lines. Spot the uber-fan!
It is part and parcel of a WAS gig to get some audience interaction and banter between the guys and there was a bit of that going on but again due to the sound problems I couldn’t make out a lot of what they were saying.
There was a short 2-song encore and then it was over.
I knew that some of my internet WAS-friends were in the audience so I went on the lookout for them to see if we could meet in real life, and I wanted to see if they were up for waiting to see if Keith & Chris were going to come out and say hello, as they often do after gigs. I spotted a couple of people and as we were chatting and introducing ourselves etc a security guard came over and told us the band were having some kind of knees-up (ok he didn’t say that but am I not allowed one Cockney reference?) with their girlfriends and celebrity mates and it was unlikely they’d be out before midnight. As it was only about 10.45pm we decided we weren’t that dedicated and headed for the tube. It was nice to chat to Tracy and Joanne in real life, and they were telling me about their marathon EuroWAStravaganza with involved taking in about 7 shows (is that right?) and driving home each night after them. Now that is 2 uber-fans right there. You thought I was bad with 2 shows… Unfortunately Glasgow wasn’t on their list so we parted company hoping to meet on the next tour.
Oh and on the way back to Kavita’s I saw this:
Missed Rewards and only saw a couple of songs from Goldheart Assembly but they seemed to be quite good.
I didn’t buy anything, I just wanted to get the hell out of the crowd and get some fresh (ok fresh-ish, it was London after all) air. Figured I’d get the chance in Glasgow.
We Are Scientists, Glasgow ABC, 25th November 2010
Yay, part 2 of my EuroWAStravaganza was back in Glasgow. So my main aim was to get there as early as possible. I had even thought about heading into town in the afternoon to see if I could catch the guys on the way in ( I had pressies for them ) but I was thwarted by sick small child who was off nursery, so as soon as parent no. 2 arrived back home I headed out.
The ABC isn’t my favourite venue. They always have gigs really early cos they do club nights after. So I was afraid that I’d miss Rewards again. Didn’t help that the bus driver was an idiot so I ended up getting off and walking (ok I admit I actually ran) the last bit. Got in and could hear that Rewards were already on but there was barely anyone on the floor, they were all at the bar or on the seats at the side. I tried to get a barrier spot but Keith’s side was mobbed with kids so I went over to Chris’ side which was also full along the barrier but I got a spot just behind another short person to try to ensure a good view.
So finally I get to see the fabled Aaron Pfenning, the man who has made girls swoon over in every town he has visited. Well I didn’t get a very good look cos he spent the whole set over on the other side of the stage. Maybe he thought that the Keith fan-girls were more likely to give him a better reception. Lets face it Keith is the biggest Aaron fan-girl.
Well Aaron certainly makes love to that guitar, he was thrusting and grinding all over it, and his songs are all slow atmospheric numbers so you can imagine… His singing voice is also deep and husky so I can see the appeal. But it was a pity that the audience weren’t into it, there was hardly anyone paying attention and no-one clapped or cheered. Me and a few girls on the barrier tried to get some enthusiasm going but we were only a few pitiful voices. His music is quite different to WAS so maybe people just weren’t into it as much, it is kind of music you would probably appreciate better if stoned. But I enjoyed it ( I was definitely not stoned, I didn’t even go and get a drink cos I was so eager to book my place down the front). Afterwards he started speaking to some people down the front then he had to clear off his own kit, so it was a bit of an undignified ending.
I was also looking forward to the second support act after what I’d seen of them in London. They were really quite good. The kind of band that if I had gone along to King Tuts of an evening to see what was on and they were it I would have been really pleased. Their songs weren’t particularly different or unusual but they played with a lot of heart and soul and energy and made an effort to connect with the audience. I was thoroughly entertained watching their drummer who stood up to play a lot of the time, played with furry beaters half the time and was occasionally joined by one of the other band members to bash away at extra bits of kit. I’m always interested in watching drummers (having played a bit when I was at school) but these guys were excellent.
By the time they had finished the hall had filled up more, and they really set the mood that got everyone geared up for WAS.
We Are Scientists
The roadies had moved the mics so I was pretty much in front of Chris, just a bit to the left. Short girl stayed in front of me so I had a good view over to Keith and Danny as well. Sorted.
I was still in gig mode and on a bit of a high from London so as soon as they started I was singing, dancing and waving my arms in the air. It took a while for those around me to catch up but they did before too long. Except this one girl beside me who seemed to be really uncomfortable and just stood there looking awkward, not singing or moving or anything. She had probably been dragged along by a friend and for a while I felt sorry for her, but then I didn’t want her to spoil my mood so I just carried on and tried not to bash her with my elbow.
Well the sound this time was perfect. It was only now that I realised how poor it had been in London when I hear the first song and Keith’s vocals were as clear as a bell and the balance between the guitars and drums was just perfect. I actually couldn’t believe how clear Keith sounded, whatever the sound guys did it made him sound like he was standing right in front of us as he was at the In-Store, un-electrified. Round of applause for the ABC sound peeps.
I’m not going to describe each song, that’ll get tedious (non-WAS fans you have done well if you have even got this far) but I’ll say they didn’t play Pittsburgh again, but did play Break It Up this time, so it was good to hear that as we didn’t get it in London.
Keith and Chris looked like they were having a really good time. Keith was incredibly bouncy, and was dancing all over the place so much that he often had to rush back to his mic to sing a line. He was letting rip on his guitar ( I love that telecaster) as I have never seen him do before – man, he can really play that thing! He was improvising and riffing and playing around with the hooks and melodies and solos it was amazing, I was open-mouthed most of the time in awe. When Keith is on top form it rubs off on the other two and they were getting into it as well, I guess with Keith being singer and lead guitarist his mood must set the tone. Well he was in brilliant form that night and Chris and Danny weren’t far behind. Chris did a couple of wee improvised bits too and launched into his own solo in response to Keith’s. This all got the crowd going too and the energy just flowed from the stage to the audience and back again, I have never been to a gig like it. I was squealing with delight.
And boy, were we treated to some top quality We Are Scientists banter. Again, I’m not going to try and recount it all cos it probably won’t come across well but they talked about everything from the tipple of choice for the modern rock star – “Fanta and grain alcohol” apparently, the Glaswegian penchant for Buckfast (Chris had done his homework!), how to get your groove on and Chris’ bathing habits, among others. It was hilarious and classic Keith and Chris and I was in a very happy place.
Ok, what else to say? Aaron Pfenning from Rewards came on to do Textbook again and there was a surge of bodies as Keith came down into the audience, but I seemed to have drifted off to the left and he didn’t come down that far.
The encore was longer this time which was good cos no-one wanted it to end. Keith kept saying how Glasgow was the best crowd and this was the best gig of the tour. Usually I’d be sceptical that he says that all the time, but he didn’t say it in London. I like to think he was telling the truth…
So afterwards I had to wait outside to see if they were going to come out this time. I hadn’t put my coat in, thankfully cos there was a massive queue and it took ages to get everyone out, but I slipped out quickly after a trip to the merch stall. (I wanted a red sword logo t-shirt, but they had sold out of ladies sizes so I got a tour t-shirt instead. I’m not sure I like it, the image is a little disturbing,..) As I was waiting, tech geek that I am, I immediately went on Twitter on my phone to tell my WAS-friends how amazing it had been, when I saw a familiar figure in a bad red hat coming skulking out the venue and heading round the waiting fans, towards the bus. I gave a double-take but I was pretty sure it was Keith. He obviously didn’t want to be seen, hence the skulking and hat-wearing, but I had to say something, so I said, “nice hat!” and smiled at him. He looked up and laughed and smiled but carried on to the bus. I was just about to tweet my near-Scientist experience when Aaron and Chris came out. Chris got a bit mobbed so I spoke to Aaron first and told him that everyone had been urging me to see his set and h0w glad I was that I had made it. He seemed surprised that people had been saying that and quite touched that I made the effort just for him. He was really nice, and told me not to feel weird for clapping and cheering when no-one else was.
Chris was still busy signing things and getting photos etc so I held back waiting for a better opportunity. I saw Danny loitering beside the bus and went over to him. He was so lovely and just began chatting about random stuff like he knew me. I began to wonder if he had mistaken me for someone else, but I think he is just a genuinely nice guy who has a really easy manner and way with people. So we talked a bit about touring, how the different shows have different feels, the weather (it was blooming freezing), the attention the other 2 guys get, festivals, being in a group of Americans on Thanksgiving and wet wipes. Yes wet wipes. Apparently Danny had never heard of wet wipes, so just as I was explaining about using them for babies, Chris came and joined us and of course Chris knew what there were. How rock ‘n’ roll – wet wipes.
Anyway I wished Chris a Happy Thanksgiving and gave him my present, which was a book. I know Chris and Keith are both into literature, so I thought the perfect present would be an anthology of new writing from the Glasgow University creative writing dept. My friend did a Masters there a couple of years ago and their work got published and some of it is really good. Chris was really interested and asked me who my friend was and made sure I pointed her poetry out. (Sara Bryce are you reading this?) He thanked me about six times and promised to check it out. I reminded him I had come to the In-Store with my then-11 month old daughter, and he remembered me and we talked a bit about how babies like music, especially strong beats. He then had to rush off, but was really apologetic for having to leave and thanked me again for the book and promised again to check it out. He is such a nice guy!
I got my ticket signed by Danny and Chris,
And got my photo taken with Chris. Thanks to the girl who offered to take it!
Chris had said that Keith was still inside, but I said I thought I’d seen him go into the bus, so there followed much confusion about who was where. Everyone was really cold so Aaron and Danny decided to go back to their hotel bar, Chris went looking for Keith but never re-emerged, so we decided to call it a night and head off before we froze solid.
And that was the end of my EuroWAStravaganza.
*WAStravaganza is a term created by Abby Williamson for her and her friends’ road trip down the Western US to see several We Are Scientists shows. We Are Scientists →WAS → WAStravaganza. So the European leg of the tour became EuroWAStravaganza. It makes sense to us…..