After the Panda Su show on Thursday night, the mid point of my gigging weekend was a much louder show at Beat Generator Live as We Were Promised Jetpacks headlined the second day of the Juteopolis mini-festival.
Strange as it may seem, given that I first saw the Jetpacks nearly seven years ago, but over the last 12 months I’d almost forgotten how good they are under the deluge of new music. Last night was therefore a timely reminder of their potent mix of noise and melody.
Unusually, there wasn’t much in the way of new stuff on offer, the only post ‘Pit of the Stomach’ track being ‘Peace Sign’ which isn’t exactly new as it was played last year.
Instead there was a slightly retro feel to the set. They opened with ‘Keeping Warm’, something I’ve not seen them do for 3 or 4 years and, perhaps surprisingly, more was played from debut ‘These Four Walls’ than from the follow-up.
I’m left with the distinct impression that the second record is lacking traction with the audience. Undeniably the rapturously received hits from the first record are largely what the audience is here for. That would be understandable if the 2nd LP was new, but it’s a little surprising given that ‘Pit’ is now 18 months old.
Yet, in this writer’s humble opinion, with the likes of ‘Picture of Health’ (as close as they’ve come to a Jetpacks pop song), ‘Sore Thumb’ and the awesome ‘Pear Tree’ there’s no question that some of the newer material is their best yet. Persuading the wider audience of that though may be harder than I’d thought.
1. Keeping Warm 2. Peace Sign 3. Ships With Holes Will Sink 4. Picture of Health 5. Quiet Little Voices 6. Roll Up Your Sleeves 7. Sore Thumb 8. The Boy In The Back Seat 9. Pear Tree 10. It’s Thunder, It’s Lightning
Prior to Jetpacks, were The Mirror Trap. Considering we exchanged fliers outside a Malcolm Middleton gig as far back as the end of 2008 it seems odd that our paths have never crossed since. Which has undoubtedly been my loss as, last night, they were great.
The first over-riding first impression is that one of their strengths is that they have a genuine front man who is very much the visual focus of the show,. Which is a little odd because it seems that last night’s show was their first as a 5 piece with a new bass player and the singer may well have previously been stuck behind the bass.
If that’s the case, then they may well have found their trump card as there’s a great contrast between the theatrics and sweeping gestures of the singer and the no nonsense playing of the rest of the band.
Musically there’s bags of energy. At times it’s a little angular but there also seems to be a touch of glam about them as well. Pick of the bunch may well be ‘Killing Time’ a song that’s apparently intended for their new LP.
If there’s anything wrong with the set, it’s that it seems to be pitched at the same level throughout. Not necessarily stylistically, because they do mix things up particularly near the end. But without the ebbs and flows of, say, the headliners, it perhaps lacks the drama that the material suggests that they’re capable of.
Hopefully it won’t be another 4+ years before I see them again and if last night’s set is the core of the new LP then that’s a record I’m very keen to hear.
The first band I caught were Copper Lungs. They’re another of these modern rock bands doing the rounds and whilst they were likeable I didn’t find them spectacular.
Photos from the show will be added here over the next few days.