We Were Promised Jetpacks has clearly come a long way since their modest beginnings in a high school somewhere in Scotland. Their clever mix of post-punk and indie rock has earned them a quite diverse audience, including many fans of various age groups, from 40-somethings that missed the honesty and talent of the DIY shows of their college years, to high school girls accompanied by their fathers, who were dragged to the event, only to find themselves actually enjoying the company of a great stage performance.
Despite Chvurches being arguably the most-talked about Scottish music group of today, Scotland has done it once again and given us more talented musicians. After attending the sold-out show at the Black Cat on Friday, I have found myself listening to their first two, and only albums, In The Pit of the Stomach and These Four Walls, on repeat. They combine the high-energy, emotion and angst of punk music with the catchiness and accessibility of modern indie rock. One of the first things lead singer (and one of three guitarists) Adam Thompson said when he entered from stage left was, “We just finished recording our third album about ten minutes ago!” That said, the band gave the audience quite a hefty sampling of tunes off of their new album.
In a post-show interview, bassist Sean Smith described the new album, which will be released this September or October, “It was a very long process, and definitely wasn’t easy, because we have this terrible, really small practice room, but we made the most of it. I’m glad its all over.” From what I heard in the concert, there seemed to be a sort of distinct switch from their earlier songs to their newer ones. Smith said of their progress as a band, “We couldn’t wait to completely change our sound on the third album. We went from really heavy guitars and percussion, to something more considerate. We learned that our music doesn’t have to completely sound like a swamp at all times.”
Fans at the show didn’t seem to mind the “swampiness” of their earlier music, however, as most were dancing and head banging to their complete satisfaction, particularly to their most popular songs, the opening and closing songs, “Quiet Little Voices” and “It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning.” We were all sweating from being forced to invade each other’s private space, but in a good way. It was in the way of a proper rock show. It was the way the pushing and shoving of the crowd created a sort of unintentional wave of human bodies to the tune of the drums.
One thing in particular that could be remembered of this show was the lack of iPhones recording the show or Snapchatting friends who couldn’t make it. Everyone was sincerely having fun enough to think that, maybe, possibly, they didn’t need to document every aspect of their lives and instead actually experience it.
At the end of the show, it was clear the band members were absolutely exhausted. They were all dripping with sweat (as they should be), and the bassist even threw his guitar off of his back and onto the floor, even quicker than his last strum. The fatigued band could only mean one thing; there was a show, and it was awesome.