We Were Promised Jetpacks impress in Boston

A review of We Were Promised Jetpacks at the Paradise Rock Club on October 28, 2011

, Staff Writer

Scottish post-punkers We Were Promised Jetpacks had their work cut out for them for their show at the Paradise on Friday. As the kick off to Halloween weekend, expectations were high. Thankfully, the band rose to the occasion and delivered a set that was full of great treats.

Thanks to a bit of a delay in starting, the crowd had ample opportunity to enjoy a few drinks before the band took the stage, and you can bet that their entrance was met with raucous applause. Though they’re a relatively young band, Jetpacks already have amassed quite a following, if the amount of cheering and hollering was any indication, and they did not disappoint.

Wasting no time, Jetpacks dropped right into “Circles and Squares”, which kicks off their latest album, In The Pit of the Stomach. The crowd immediately exploded into a mass of singing, dancing and head-bobbing. Adam Thompson’s thick Scottish brogue almost functions as an instrument in and of itself, giving the lyrics a unique aural tone that seems to give even more meaning to their emotionally-heavy content.

Drummer Darren Lackie played his heart out all evening, smashing cymbals and keeping time incredibly well. He continually gave Jetpacks the forward momentum needed to keep their songs interesting throughout. Michael Palmer’s guitar kept a steady harmonic vein running and Sean Smith ensured everyone stayed grounded by laying down a firm foundation of bass. The band seemed eminently comfortable on the stage of the ‘dise, unafraid to physically involve themselves in the music.

Naturally, the crowd responded incredibly well to their enthusiasm, and Jetpacks kep the energy high with “Quiet Little Voices”, one of their most beloved tunes off their 2009 debut album, These Four Walls. The crowd immediately turned into a passionate sing-along, filled with the vitality you would expect from the Scots. Thompson sang his heart out, leading the crowd in the tune. It was a memorable live moment, to say the least, and easily legitimizes the band as a force that’s here to stay.

Where most bands wait until the end to play their hits, Jetpacks had no problem giving us “Quiet Little Voices” as the second song. It set the show off at a peak – not ones to ride on the coattails of their big tune, the band continued to go strong throughout the evening. Other notable performances included “Medicine”, with its huge, booming, anthemic guitars, and “Sore Thumb”, which took things down to a slightly less intense level.

Of course, slightly less intense is still pretty high up there for a band like We Were Promised Jetpacks. They aren’t afraid to put real, earnest emotions into their songs, and what results is songs filled with a sort of desperate yearning that even the biggest guitar tone in the world can’t drown out. It’s no wonder people adore the band as much as they do.

In spite of this, the band can definitely rock the crap out of their songs. Dense layers of distortion pervaded throughout the evening, turning the Paradise into a den of beautiful noise. There wasn’t any moshing to speak of, but during their more fast-paced numbers, it wouldn’t have been too out of place.

We Were Promised Jetpacks are a unique band. Along with contemporaries like They Will Be Fireworks and Frightened Rabbit, they take musical risks and give us songs that are honest and open, in a time when being honest and open can seem downright uncool. If their performance at the Paradise on Saturday was any indication, they’ll be putting great stuff like this out for quite some time.

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