THEY’LL perform to thousands at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in May, but first US rockers We Are Scientists returned to Southampton to celebrate 50 years of The Joiners.

Lead-singer-guitarist Keith Murray, bassist and vocalist Chris Cain and drummer Keith Carne kicked off the first of 57 international tour dates and premiered new numbers from latest album Megaplex at the St Mary Street venue.

13 years and seven records since they first played here, Chris joked that this time they had enough original songs for a full set without relying on covers by fellow American rockers Hootie and The Blowfish.

Guitar and drums fuelled anthems The Great Escape, It’s A Hit and their 2005 breakthrough single Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt thrilled the 200 strong crowd, most of who were fans from the early days.

The synth-based effects on newer numbers were stripped back for this intimate performance, but the Brooklyn based trio still create the intricate sound of a four or five piece band.

Paying tribute to the Joiners Chris said “We now play all over the world, but places like this were key when we started out in the UK. If it hadn’t existed, we would have soon been boarding the plane back to New York.”

Earlier The Lottery Winners from Leigh, Lancashire brought some storming tunes and plenty of laughs with their entertaining antics in between songs. No strangers to Southampton, front man Thom Rylance, guitarist Robert Lally, bassist Katie Lloyd and drummer Joe Singleton won over another new crowd. Expect to hear more from them soon.

We Are Scientist’s new album Megaplex is released Friday April 27.

Richard Derbyshire