We Were Promised Jetpacks Hit a Home Run

October 31st, 2011

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Webster Hall – October 30, 2011

(Photo: Sean O’Kane)

Showing no signs of wear and tear from a handful of CMJ Music Marathon shows last weekend (or from the tour they’ve since started), Scotland’s We Were Promised Jetpacks played one of their biggest New York City shows yet last night at Webster Hall. There was no struggle to energize the crowd, no wasted time between songs, just an hour and a half of the band totally knocking one out of the park.

After opening with “Circles and Squares,” the first track off the band’s new album, In the Pit of the Stomach, lead singer Adam Thompson told the crowd the next song would “work better with more voices.” Somewhat surprisingly, the quartet then ripped into “Quiet Little Voices,” arguably their biggest and most recognizable song. The fans, bouncing frenziedly, approved. The scene on the floor cracked a smile on the face of the usually focused Thompson, who turned and looked at drummer Darren Lackie as if to say “OK, this crowd is for real,” before finishing the song. A few tunes later, Thompson briefly opened up to the audience, saying, “We’ve been waiting for this gig for a while,” an admission the crowd cheered.

The new album was on display throughout the show, including the first single, “Medicine,” but the more dynamic (and lengthier) songs stood out: With just a simple chord progression from bassist Sean Smith, “Sore Thumb” stayed mostly instrumental until it absolutely exploded after Thompson sang a few lines. And “Pear Tree,” which began like some sort of Radiohead cover, shifted at its halfway point back to the style that has carried this band—a perfect mix of aggression and melody, topped off with drinking-song vocals (and, yes, an accent). —Sean O’Kane