Monday, March 08, 2010

We Were Promised Jetpacks at the Troubadour

Scottish bands rule. Teenage Fanclub, Jesus and The Mary Chain, Mogwai have paved the way for such newer bands like Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks. The Troubadour was packed with fans eager to hear material from We Were Promised Jetpacks debut album, These Four Walls.

Bear Hands

Mixing bits of Modest Mouse, MGMT, Yeasayer and Fool's Gold, Bear Hands, by the way of Brooklyn unfurled an ear pleasing nine song set. The rhythmic clang of "Can't Stick Em" swirled with assistance of delayed guitar notes that would violently bounce into an angular direction. Tribal rhythms of "Tablasaurus" were propelled by a staunch fuzz bass line as Dylan Rau dispensed his spoken word vocals.

"What A Drag" had a woozy bluesy feel reminiscent of Cold War Kids, yet the chorus aligned more closely to something Isaac Brock would put together for Modest Mouse. Bear Hands finish their tour with We Were Promised Jetpacks before heading down to SXSW and later landing a highly coveted slot of opening for Passion Pit.

The Lonely Forest

The Lonely Forest created a large enough buzz in the Northwest to be the first band to sign to Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie's new label imprint Trans records. They mentioned to the crowd that they hail from, "Anacortes, WA where Free Willy was filmed". The Lonely Forest's penchant for melody and crafting well written power pop songs likely attracted Walla to sign the band.

I wasn't familiar with too much of their material but one tune "Tunnels" grabbed my attention. Bradyn Krueger (Drums) was a beast on the drums with his arms frantically flailing everywhere. "We Sing In Time" recalled a more uptempo version of something Rogue Wave would craft. The Lonely Forest have a huge opportunity in the horizon as they play the well assembled Sasquatch Festival.

We Were Promised Jetpacks

A pair of Fender Telecasters started to churn as the spoken word samples of a NASA countdown from "A Half Built House" reverberated throughout the Troubadour. The volume increased as the band started into the lengthy introduction of "Keeping Warm". Darren Lackie (Drums) had his hi-hat hissing and was relentlessly bashing at his drums as the tempo continued to increase. Michael Palmer (Guitar) filled the role of sound architect adding clouds of delay or reverb washes to the songs.

"Quiet Little Voices" really kicked things up a notch as the crowd chanted the chorus along with Adam Thompson (Vocals/Guitars). Adam impressed on many levels with his vocals and handling a large portion of the chord work on his guitar without missing a beat. Sean Smith (Bass) stood quietly on his side of the stage easily keeping pace with the kinetic drumming of Lackie. The angular guitars and off kilter drum beat of "Moving Clocks Run Too Slow" added another layer of anxiety to the panic attack of a song.

Thompson was very appreciative of the sold out crowd and thanked everyone for coming out to see their "wee" band. It didn't take long for them to get back to work as they conquered "Roll Up Your Sleeves" at twice the recorded speed. The song ended in a fury of drone and feedback which would have made Jesus & The Mary Chain proud. Thompson mentioned how excited he was to play Los Angeles because he could finally meet Larry David, which got a number of laughs from the crowd. The crackle and pop of "It's Thunder and its Lightning" had Thompson screaming "Your body is black and blue" at the top of this lungs a few feet from the microphone.

After recanting a story about almost getting into a fight at their show in San Diego due to an overzealous fan filming the show with iphone, a shimmery cluster of guitars for "This is My House, This is My Home" washed over the crowd until it devolved into a fury of feedback. "Short Burst" ended their set with its rapid fire drumming and walking bass line. The chants for an encore were unfortunately unfulfilled, but We Were Promised Jetpacks literally had already given all they had.

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