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The Blue Aeroplanes / Echo Valley – Broadcast, Glasgow – Wednesday 4th December 2013

Honestly, I’d forgotten how quite much I love the Blue Aeroplanes. But last night’s show at Broadcast was a slap in the face reminder of just how good they still are.

As mentioned the other week, I lost track of the band after the ‘Altitude’/’Harvester’ era. But spotting last night’s gig listed in the Skinny a few weeks ago was a rather nice surprise and ultimately sent us through to Glasgow on a school night.

For no apparent reason (there doesn’t seem to be an associated album) their first UK tour in several years is focussing on (most of) their singles at the same time as introducing selected new tracks. If that may seem a little random, it made for an exciting set acting as a snapshot of their entire career. Switching between the different eras in the course of the 90 minutes or so also made things more unpredictable, even if you’d think that the notion of a singles tour would actually be exactly the opposite of that.

However the notion of what constitutes a BAs single seems slightly fluid – Chris got a shot at ‘Fun’ because it had apparently been released as a single in Germany (which seems to be true!) – but I’ve no recollection of ‘Top of the Pops’ ever being released as a single. However both were undoubtedly amongst the set highlights besides such staples as ‘Jacket Hangs’ and ‘Yr Own World’.

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The four new songs all sounded great too, especially both ‘Looking for Xs’ and ‘Walking Under Ladders’ as well as Gerard-less encore instrumental ‘6-5’. Aye, ok, the other one,  ‘Retro Moon’, was cool too! Gerard reckoned the new LP was “half finished” (to some audience scepticism!) but that it will be a “fucking killer”.

There were some early sound problems with ‘Broken and Mended’ particularly suffering. Then Bec’s vocal mic seemed to be switched off for the first half of ‘Tolerance’. But very quickly things settled down to facilitate massed guitar heaven.

The great thing about BAs gigs is that, never mind the line-up, they bring an extra energy to the live performance. Frankly it’s hard to beat the three pronged guitar attack.

I’m left hoping that it’s not another seven years before they come back to Scotland.  In fact I’d happily go again tonight – if only it were a little closer to home …

The Blue Aeroplanes played:

1. Action Painting  2. Broken & Mended  3. Tolerance  4. Bury Your Love Like Treasure  5. Looking for Xs  6. Top of the Pops  7. Fun  8. Jacket Hangs  9. Lover & Confidante  10. Retro Moon  11. … And Stones  12. You Are Loved  13. Walking Under Ladders  14. The Boy In The Bubble  15. Yr Own World

Encore 1:

16. 6-5  17. Bad Moon Rising  18. Detective Song

Encore 2:

19. Breaking In My Heart

Here’s a video from last night’s show of new song ‘Walking Under Ladders’:

For some reason, the sound and pictures are noticeably out of sync at the start but curiously improve quite quickly. Not sure what’s going on.

Support came from a young band, Echo Valley (from Ayr, I’d guess, as they have an EP launch there on Friday). To be honest  I didn’t like them an awful lot, although Mrs MPT said they were far from the worst act I’d taken her to see. But for me, they were like heavy rock – lite. So not really that heavy after all, although they did start to be more interesting mid set when they mixed things up a bit by having a song which omitted the slightly plodding riffing.

But, just when I thought things were on the up, they made a dreadful error in playing ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’. It seemed to be a spur of the moment decision, perhaps due to the lack of reaction from the audience, but the reality is that most folk will have gone away from their set thinking the support band played THAT bloody song rather than remembering Echo Valley’s own material.

They’re not without merit, and there’s plenty of time to improve as they seem to be very young, but at the moment they seem to be lacking their own distinctive identity.

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Echo Valley

Finally a word about the venue. It was the first time I’d been in Broadcast and it’s probably a similar size (maybe slightly bigger) to the late lamented Captain’s Rest. But it seemed like a good basement and the sound turned out to be pretty good.

More photos from the show and another video can be found here.

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