We Are Scientists / Forward, Russia - Manchester Academy 1 - 07.04.2006

A jarring set of piercing post rock with a ranging disco stab is being fired out by the tension trashing Leeds outfit of Forward,Russia. It is immediately noticeable that the screeching vocals of Tom Woodhead pick up big-time in the intensity stakes in a live setting, as is cuttingly emphasised in the cantering guitar pushed, previous single of ‘Twelve’. Tom’s animated stage presence makes for an intriguing spectacle to watch and the supporting backing shouts of Whiskas (guitar) and his percussion shattering sister, Katie gives some sharp focus to proceedings. They save their most intense and high-pitched offering ’Fifteen, part 2’, for last and it makes for a raucous finale. IForward, Russia, at the moment, are music’s equivalent to a cup side, they save their focus and compactness for the live setting. If, and when, they manage to capture this on record, then they will surely be the subject of even more talk than they are at the moment.

Of all the talk about The Arctic Monkeys, the NME Tour, in many ways belonged to the American power trio of We Are Scientists. The way they built from bounding opener of ‘This Scene Is Dead’, from the buoyant ‘With Love & Squalor’ album to produce a momentum building set, ensured that people wanted to come back. Come back they did tonight, the same venue is sold-out and the same opener, ensures crowd approval from the off. Much has been made of the throaty vocal cries of Keith Murphy and his flamboyant guitar riffs, coupled with Chris Murphy’s frolicking bass lines that weld together beautifully in highlights ‘It’s A Hit’ and ‘History Repeats’. Also, their witty banter is in full flow tonight. However, it is the bold and booming drum beats of Michael Trapper that is thrusting numbers like the catchy punk swerving, ‘Lousy Reputation’ that catches the ear, as he complements the sound with adept precision and often lifts it up a level.

A ripping cover of the tear-jerking The Ronnettes’ song ‘Be My Baby’, sets in motion a cosy little sing a long, as the pace drops slightly to allow a more romantic and loving mood. The lid is put on an hour long, encore free set by way of the solidly rhythmic ‘The Great Escape’. Mutual appreciation betwixt band and the crowd is exchange with enthusiasm, along with a promise from the trio that “we’ll be back real soon’. You can be sure that the Manchester crowd will hold them to that.

David Adair

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