By the time Sunday night rolled around and I found myself plodding up the stairs to the Brillobox’s second floor, I was a fairly large shell of the human that left his office Thursday evening. The weekend was long and wet; the city felt covered in sweat for the better part of 72 hours and I constantly felt the sting of perspiration in my eyes. The crowd felt heavy and many were still drinking booze at 10:30 on a Sunday night; effectively giving the middle finger to the sticky work week ahead.
The room was thick with a haze of… something: irritation, excitement, the collective heat of the city’s black top… I’m not sure. In the middle of this indecipherable urban cloud, We Are Scientists managed to put on a show that hit pleasure centers I either forgot about or didn’t know I have, transplanting me back to 2003 (my senior year ofof high school) when the sound of New York (Interpol, The Strokes, The Rapture) was literally everywhere. The thrashing baselines, stomping percussion and ringing guitars of the Brooklyn three-piece coalesced into a slick, indie-disco shit storm, making the heat of August in Pittsburgh, for one moment at least, an integral piece to a seriously fun night.
The indie rock veterans plowed through highlights from their discography with a palpable energy, tightness and charisma as lead singer Keith Murray and bassist Chris Cain curated the show like a hipster vaudeville team. A lick-heavy bass, guitar and drums were enough to turn the tides of room into a dance party, with Cain routinely waltzing into the crowd to slap his funky riffs amidst the sweaty t-shirts and fogged up glasses of audience members, even prompting one woman to lick the side of his mustachioed face.
All the group’s hits made appearances: With Love and Squalor’s “The Great Escape,” Barbara’s “Nice Guys,” “I Don’t Bite” and curiously named “Pittsburgh,” Brain Thrust Mastery’s “Dinosaurs” (as the set’s searing opener), “Impatience” and a rousing, faux-encore inducing rendition of “After Hours.”
“After Hours,” as hoped, hit hardest, rounding out the set as arguably WAS’s greatest track. The high-level gloss of the song’s soaring chorus and composition is so compelling even the most jaded indie rock fans sit up and take notice. The “eternal night” lyrics don’t exactly hurt either, capping off an unexpected last push toward Monday with undiluted amounts of fun. Basically, We Are Scientists surprised the hell of out me, giving my weekend a much welcomed third wind and reminding me that the dog days of summer are too fun to ignore.