We Were Promised Jetpacks Raise the Roof at Webster HallMarch 10th, 2014
We Are Jetpacks – Webster Hall – March 8, 2014
Don’t let the ceiling at Webster Hall fool you: If you look closely enough you’ll see that the rafters have another 20 or so feet above them before the ceiling actually appears. And on a night like Saturday, when the boisterous crowd so loudly and consistently joined We Were Promised Jetpacks in belting out seemingly every verse and chorus, it was easy to hear evidence of that extra space.
In what was their biggest headlining show ever, the Scottish rockers’ performance served two big purposes throughout the night. The first was reuniting with local fans—they’d already made a name for themselves in New York City after touring with Frightened Rabbit five years ago, but We Were Promised Jetpacks have played here sparingly ever since. The second purpose was to debut new material from a forthcoming third album (although no release date has been set). Of course the old songs on display remained as good as ever, which comes as no surprise considering the incredible one-two punch of albums the band debuted with in These Four Walls and In the Pit of the Stomach. Heavy fuzz surrounded every catchy melody, and those were usually preceded or proceeded by some big chorus that involved singer Adam Thompson literally backing away from the microphone because of how loud he belted out the lyrics.
The five-piece’s best songs can be speedy, arena-ready sing-alongs like “Quiet Little Voices” or deeper, darker tracks with car-crash decelerations in them, like “Human Error” and its epic ending. This versatility branched out in wild directions during the few new songs they played, during which they abandoned much of the guitar distortion and focused more on showcasing their heady melodies. The few they played sounded more cleverly written than anything We Were Promised Jetpacks have released to date, and while the New York City fans certainly showed they were thrilled that the band was back, Saturday’s show left many of them focused on what’s to come. —Sean O’Kane