With their vaudevillian flair as abundant as ever, We are the Physics are on fine, frenetic form this evening. Wise-cracking and Orinoco Flow-ing through tight riffs and non-sequitur mantras, their welcome is, however, surprisingly reserved – though perhaps that’s only because many opt to conserve energy for the main event.
Ten years is a hell of a build-up, so it’s no surprise that Desaparecidos’ debut Scottish gig provokes an intense reaction. Opening with the crunching guitars of Greater Omaha, they sound louder and more impassioned than on record, with the two-prong vocals from Conor Oberst and bassist Landon Hedges scraping together into a single, fervent howl matched by contributions from the crowd. Read Music/Speak Spanish is played in full, and the response is consistent: lyrics are chanted back from the floor, air is punched, and the grins breaking out amongst the band suggest the electricity is felt onstage as well as off. But while those with a decade-long infatuation get the biggest payoff tonight, the show offers all involved far more than nostalgia. Politically-charged new tracks update the lyrical themes – Arizona border policy, the Occupy movement – but convey the same energy and fire, and the overall impression isn’t of a late-stage curtain call, but a fresh start for a band with plenty left to say and plenty willing to hear it.