Flashback to 10th grade for a second. No, not YOUR tenth grade, MINE. I had ridiculously curly brown hair and brand spankin’ new braces. But that’s not the important part, the important part is that I was also in–fricking-love with Keith Murray of We Are Scientists. I borrowed my mom’s credit card to buy an “I are scientists” t-shirt and would frequently daydream about being the love interest in one of the band’s quirky music videos in which I would obviously kiss Keith.
Fast forward five years and you can imagine my excitement when I heard that We Are Scientists was coming to Ithaca on April 14th and playing a free show in Emerson Suites. This was the first time I’d ever seen THE LOVE OF MY LIFE in the flesh- as a 10th grader I obviously didn’t have the means to see them live.
They didn’t disappoint the high school fangirl inside me. I got to Emerson early and planted myself front row and center. It was packed with a much rowdier crowd than at other Emerson concerts I’ve been to. When the band finally came out (beers in hand), the crowd was already pretty antsy, but it took about three songs in until we were all properly dancing. And then — we were DANCING. We Are Scientists played an eclectic mix of their three albums, but the crowd responded best to hits from their first album, With Love and Squalor, such as “The Great Escape” and “This Scene Is Dead.”
What made the show so mind-blowingly fantastic was the band’s relationship with the crowd. You could tell they were surprised by the crowd’s size and raucousness and they bounced banter off us like comedic pros. When a group of guys behind us held up a sign that said, “Keith, My Body is Your Body”, referencing the song “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt”, bassist Chris Cain quipped that the guys obviously wanted Keith as some sort of Olympic coach. When that same group tried to push my friend Shaza on stage to get her to stage dive, Keith yelled into his microphone, “Well you HAVE to make her do it now!” So she did, and started a long chain of stage divers and crowd surfers, which meshed quite well with the throbbing mosh pit.
Of course, the most infamous part of the night was during the last song, “After Hours,” when Keith said, “Ithaca College paid for this stage! IT’S YOURS.” My friends and I looked at each other wide-eyed thinking, “Does he mean what we think he means?” before rushing onstage. About fifty kids followed suit and soon the tiny wooden stage was shaking under the weight of so many sweaty students jumping up and down screaming along with the band, “SAY! THAT YOU’LL STAY.” I obviously made a beeline for Keith and ended up on his right side, brushing right up against his jean jacket. We Are Scientists proved to me that night that they weren’t just a band for my lonely 15-year-old self to love. They were JUST as kickass (perhaps even more?) for a relatively more mature 21-year-old me. For four minutes and under the imminent threat of falling through a shaky stage to my death, I could believe (even if just in my head) that my megacrush and I had shared a moment.