Normally support bands get better as the evening progresses. However, at last night's NME awards show with We Are Scientists at London's Astoria, this was not the case. Opener Switches started playing to a quarter full auditorium, and by the end of their set they'd converted virtually all those present.
The Southend-on-sea four piece led by the charismatic Matt Bishop took us on a romp through their brief back catalogue, with both energy and excitement. Sounding like they'd be right at home in the background of an episode of Skins on E4, they're the anthem to a night out, and their set was all too brief. Highlights 'Drama Queen' and 'Lay down the Law' got the crowd going, and were everything the best support bands should do.
The stage was quickly turned around and soon the audience's favourites Pull Tiger Tail came out complete with day-glo tubes and tiger masks (which they only remembered to put on halfway through). Sounding like a mix between the Killers, Panic! At the Disco and Klaxons, the London three-piece were loved by the girls on the front, whilst some of the older audience members looked on in bemusement. Their energy was briefly halted when Davo their bassist / keyboardist knocked his synths and keys off their stands, causing much amusement.
Going on the last two bands, we were hopeful that Australians The Scare would be amazingly good, but how wrong we were. Coming on looking like the typical stereotype of the hard living rock stars, Russell Brand look-alike Kiss Reid gave it his all, telling us that we were "boring… come on, give it some", before spending much of the last two songs in the crowd. At the end of the last song he was joined by his two guitarists, who seemed to think that we loved them more than we did. Their music was overshadowed by their dramatics, with their generic brand of rock proving as unique as everyone else.
Finally, We Are Scientists graced the stage, coming on, looking genuinely surprised to the audience's reaction. Starting off with a new slow song 'Spoken For', WAS were on top form, ploughing through most of their debut album whilst also throwing in a few extra new songs. WAS' new stuff was good, though nothing they played stood up to their debut album: hopefully they'll have some better songs hidden up their sleeves. Their inter-song banter between Keith and Chris was amusing, though a little short compared to other times. Pretty soon they launched into 'Nobody Moves, Nobody Gets Hurt', when the place erupted into a sweaty mess that The Scare would have loved to have been a part of. Closing off the evening was the obligatory 'Great Escape', sending the crowd off into a frenzy once again, and bringing a brilliant evening of great (and not so great in the case of The Scare) music to a close.
Words by Phil Singer