Show Review: Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Twilight Sad at The Independent, 9/18/09

by Pouria Yazdi on September 19, 2009

Who brought the jetpacks?

Who brought the jetpacks?

I’d been looking forward to the Frightened Rabbit show at The Independent for some time.  Not because of Frightened Rabbit or even The Twilight Sad, I’d been pining away for We Were Promised Jetpacks (WWPJ).

I first listened to their album These Four Walls on Lala and it quickly became one of my favorites.  The intensity and power of Adam Thompson’s (lead singer) voice almost guaranteed an excellent live performance.  So, naturally, when I found out they were playing in the city I had to go.

This particular show was featuring three Scottish bands.  WWPJ was the first band to play and they came on a little late, at around 9PM. Backing Thompson up were Michael Palmer on guitar, Sean Smith on bass, and Darren Lackie on drums.   The opener, “It’s Thunder And It’s Lightning,” sent shivers through my body.  I knew this was going to be the best band of the three that night.

Thompson would stand a few feet from the mic and belt his lyrics like a powerhouse.  In his fugue-state-of-rock Thompson frequently dropped the microphone stand just before dancing about the stage with the mic.

The next song, “Roll Up You Sleeves,” brought the fury and energy down as they slowed the tempo.

The crowd was surprisingly knowledgeable of the songs.  When Thompson announced they were playing “This Is My House, This Is My Home” some people screamed in excitement.  Thompson then made a comment questioning people’s excitement, as he thought they probably never heard their songs.  His reaction slightly disappointed me (because I was there for them) but it in no way affected the show quality.

I was a bouncing fool during their set.  “Moving Clocks Run Slow” really showed how well the band worked together.

The overall jovial banter with the crowd added to the excellent showmanship by WWPJ.  Their final song, “Short Bursts,” drew massive cheers from the crowd.  It was clear the following act, The Twilight Sad, were going to have trouble following.

To further this point as I was walking to and from the bathroom, I heard multiple people say it would have suited them just fine if WWPJ were the headlining act.

We Were Promised Jetpacks Setlist:

It’s Thunder And It’s Lightning
Roll Up You Sleeves
This Is My House, This Is My Home
Quiet Little Voices
Moving Clocks Run Slow
An Almighty Thud
Ship With Holes Will Sink
Short Bursts

The Twilight Sad came on and it suddenly became very boring in The Independent.  There was a lot of yawning and looking at the ceiling on my part.  It wasn’t that they were a bad band–the drummer especially was good–but they couldn’t match the performance of WWPJ.

The Twilight Sad’s lead singer even apologized after one song, because he hadn’t sung a line due to technical difficulties.  This made me feel bad for the band more than anything, as he was really sincere.

Another thing I couldn’t help focusing on was that the bassist was not wearing his shoes.  He was standing, without very much presence, in his socks.  If that’s what sticks out about a band, then you know there isn’t much more to say about their performance.

Frightened Rabbit then took the stage and the crowd went nuts.  I had not heard the band up until that night and they performed wonderfully.  The crowd knew every lyric, and in true performer fashion the lead singer involved the crowd in almost every song.

Not afraid of the crowd at all

Not afraid of the crowd at all

What really stood out for me about Frightened Rabbit was the drummer.  He had the most intensity and skill on that stage.  At one point he was hitting his drums so fast it seemed like he wasn’t moving at all.  The best adjective for the drummer that night was vicious.

Every band member had their own fashion sense, almost in a boy band vibe complete with the accompanying instrument.  Rockabilly, prep, hip, and grunge.

There was a lot of charisma and sweat pouring forth from Frightened Rabbit and they put on an excellent show.  The last two songs especially sealed the deal for me.

I checked out their albums after the show.  Their live versions are much better and played with more intensity.  This is contrasted with a slower tempo studio recording.

Overall an awesome night of Scottish rock. I give a wholehearted recommendation for seeing both Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks next time they’re at a venue near you.

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