Edinburgh indie rockers We Were Promised Jetpacks seem to be perennially flying under the radar. After releasing two excellent albums in ‘These Four Walls’ and ‘In The Pit Of The Stomach’, there wasn’t much to hear from their camp until last year’s quiet release of ‘Unravelling’. In Bristol once again it’s likely the same crowd as last year, but you can bet your bottom dollar that people enjoy them being here.
The only support tonight comes from Bristol’s own Bridges (****). Clearly influenced by their headlining peers, the sensibly dressed four-piece waste no time in throwing their sound forward to the skeptical crowd. A meandering guitar melody accompanies the smooth bass track while vocals soar across the room. Information is fairly sparse on Bridges, but a new song played near the end (possibly entitled ‘Ghouls’?) sounds great. Final tune, ‘BFF’, is the track that the band will be known for, channeling modern indie rock over a foundation of emotional post-rock.
The headliners tonight have to be the most underrated band in indie rock today. We Were Promised Jetpacks (*****) put in an absolutely tremendous performance every time round, firing on all cylinders from the strike of the first chord. New material from 2014’s ‘Unravelling’ doesn’t lag at all, but it’s the older songs that receive the louder reception. It doesn’t take long until ‘Quiet Little Voices’ and ‘This Is My House, This Is My Home’ are causing involuntary head bopping and foot tapping. Vocalist/guitarist Adam Thompson is clearly rather upset at something, screaming at the utmost of his lungs at every opportunity and barely opening his eyes as he immerses himself in the thick landscape of the music.
It seems at times that We Were Promised Jetpacks are so Scottish that they may burst into bagpipes at any minute. It’s not difficult to imagine yourself climbing a misty mountain listening to ‘Boy In The Backseat’ et al and ‘Sore Thumb’. Such is the nature of this music, it’s not until you watch it live that you truly understand the energy that goes into it. WWPJ rival And So I Watch You From Afar for sheer aural pounding in many places, but it’s the quiet sections that really cause goosebumps across the largely respectful audience. WWPJ end a superb set with fan favourite, ‘It’s Thunder And It’s Lightning’, causing a mosh pit to break out to guitarist Michael Palmer‘s amusement.
Somebody needs to answer why in the fresh hell that We Were Promised Jetpacks aren’t headlining tours to rival Biffy Clyro and Franz Ferdinand. If you do one thing today, listen to this bloody band.
Written by MG Savage (@MGsavagewriter)