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We Were Promised Jetpacks /Little Kicks – Nothing Ever Happens Here @ Summerhall, Edinburgh – Wednesday 26th August 2015

Largely due to circumstances beyond my control, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a proper loud We Were Promised Jetpacks performance. So long in fact that, other than the interesting siding of June’s Oran Mor show, I hadn’t seen them perform as a five piece. It’s fair to say then that I’d been looking forward to this one with some anticipation.

Early impressions of the expanded line-up are very positive with ‘not so new now boy’ Stuart McGachan’s keyboards clearly audible in amongst the band’s guitar maelstrom. In fact, if anything, the keys help build up the Jetpacks’ wall of sound and it’s quite cool to hear some of the songs off the first two albums being retro-fitted with different sonic textures.

The set draws equally from all three albums allowing the new album plenty of time alongside the hits and the best of the second record. Midset there’s even a tune I don’t recognise which is likely the new tune tentatively promised in advance of the show and may be called ‘Hard To Explain’. It sounds cut from similar cloth to the ‘Unravelling’ material which is undoubtedly a good thing as I’m inclined to think that ‘Unravelling’ is their best album to date.

But great though tunes such as ‘Peaks and Troughs’ and ‘I Keep It Composed’ are on the night, the real showstopper for me remains the massive version of ‘Pear Tree’.

It’s a fairly energetic physical performance too with a fifth member onstage adding something to the physical dynamic. But most notably it’s Adam who dashes around the stage far more than I can remember from previous shows.

One of the things that’s always impressed me most about Jetpacks is their constant need to evolve. ‘Unravelling’ suggests that that remains true today whilst the live show is a timely reminder that Jetpacks remain one of Scotland’s most potent and adventurous rock bands.

We Were Promised Jetpacks played:

1.Human Error 2. Moving Clocks Run Slow 3. I Keep It Composed 4. Quiet Little Voices 5. Moral Compass 6. Part of It 7. Roll Up Your Sleeves 8. Sore Thumb 9. Hard To Explain 10. Peace Sign 11. Peaks and Troughs 12. The Boy In The Backseat 13. Pear Tree 14. It’s Thunder It’s Lightning

Encore
15. Keeping Warm

I’ve been aware of Aberdeen’s Little Kicks for some time without ever really hearing them before. So Wednesday’s opening set was my proper introduction to the band.

They’re a much dancier proposition than I’d imagined but I’ll have to confess that mostly they do rather wash over me. It’s not that I don’t like them, on the contrary they’re very likeable and the singer’s got a good voice. But in that context it’s ironic that it’s really only the last tune that makes me sit up and take notice – and it’s an instrumental.

Pitched somewhere between Remember Remember and the Phantom Band’s ‘Crocodile’ the song builds up a real sense of momentum in the way the rest of the set hadn’t managed. More stuff like that and I’d be interested but at the moment I’m happy enough to file them away as a fairly pleasant live experience.

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