Thank You Scientist at 229 Club in London
Thank You Scientist’s latest third album ‘Terraformer’ took the progressive rock world by storm in 2019. Dusted with elements of jazz, rock, and metal – the band once again pushed the boundaries of the progressive music genre with their unique style of writing.
The album came out after a lineup change in the band which led to three new members joining – Sam Greenfield (Saxophone), Joe Gullace (Trumpet), and Joe Fadem (Drums). Alongside Salvatore Marrano (Vocals), Tom Monda (Guitar), Ben Karas (Electric Violin), and Cody McCorry (Bass and Theremin), they create an astonishing seven piece band.
After the album’s success, the band have brought their headline tour to the UK performing all across the country. Tonight was their first headline show in London ever at the 229 Club off of Great Portland Street.
Exploring Birdsong were the support band, and although I’ve never heard of them before, I quickly fell in love. Giving off similar vibes to Anathema they played tracks from their first EP (and only release so far) ‘The Thing with Feathers’. Strong female lead vocals led the band into the hearts of the audience as they demanded “play one more”… “play two more”… and even “play them all [the songs] again”! They made great first impressions, and I’m sure Exploring Birdsong will be playing to the masses in the near future.
A short stage kerfuffle later, and Thank You Scientist were set up and ready to go for their performance. With more band members and instruments than square meters of stage, they started with ‘Wrinkle’ followed by ‘FXMLDR’ from their latest album ‘Terraformer’ which were astonishing to witness live.
Moving forward, they played ‘Mr Invisible’, a personal favourite of mine – and also the song that first got me into the band a few years ago. This wonderful video of the band playing the track live at Sun Lab Studio shows off how goofy this band can get when bringing their music to a live audience. Although in this video’s case, that happens to be a handful of alpacas and a sumo wrestler.
Watching the band live really helped me understand how a lot of the arrangements had been constructed. There are a few moments on their albums that I previously thought were guitar solos, but they are in fact coming from an electric violin passed through a wah pedal. An iconic combination that I’m looking forward to seeing more of in the future. Cody McCorry was also throwing a Theremin into the mix, although I have no idea how he managed to keep it in tune on such a close quarters stage. A true talent beyond his years. There were even moments in the evening where the audience called for a theremin solo interlude in-between songs. Perhaps we’ll see this on a future tour.
I also enjoyed Sam Greenfield’s Akai EWI 4000S. It’s not an instrument that is often seen in the wild, but it’s a fantastic showpiece that has some really nifty sounds inside of it. With all of the other instrumental chaos going on, it’s sound cut through the mix perfectly to add even more variety to their already expertly arranged instrumental textures.
Another highlight of the set for me was ‘Chromology’, an instrumental track from ‘Terraformer’. The arrangement of the original track is bonkers in itself, and I am still in awe of their live performance. When a band can bring their complicated music to the stage and perform it confidently and tightly in front of an audience, you know you’re in for a winner.
They finished their main set with their jazzed up cover of ‘Party All The Time’ by Eddie Murphy. They dropped the track unexpectedly a couple of months ago and it’s just as bizarrely brilliant as you might expect from these scientists. According to Salvatore Marrano, it’s proving a fan favourite across the UK as demonstrated when everyone partied their night away during this great song.
They returned to their first album for their final song and played ‘My Famed Disappearing Act’. The set was very well rounded, and touched as many bases as it could in the limited time we had available.
Overall the evening was full of energy, virtuosity, and jazzed up progressive rock goodness. These guys are the future of this genre, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait to see what amazing music they come up with next.