LIVE: We Were Promised Jetpacks – Limelight, Belfast

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WWPJ4 “Slowly but surely we are taking over Ireland”
  jokes We Were Promised Jetpacks frontman Adam Thompson.

Whilst I never thought I’d include King Lear and Jetpacks in the same sentiment, here goes – “Many a true word hath been spoken in jest.”

While the headliners may regale the crowd with the tale of how only 37 people turned up to their gig in Cork just the night before, Limelight 2 boasts significantly more numbers. A takeover of Belfast at least may be more imminent than the band expect.

Even early on in the night Belfast indie rock fans have gathered in significant force to check out support act, Fatherson. The recent surge of alternative rock from Scottish shores has offered some excellent bands, tonight’s headliners included. This list which encompasses bands from Biffy Clyro to Frightened Rabbit needs to be extended yet again and Fatherson penned in. The melodic four piece whose debut album, I am an Island was released earlier in the year combines an indie feel with a heavier rock sound, much in the same vein as the band they are supporting in Limelight 2 tonight.

Ross Leighton, guitarist and vocalist introduces album track ‘Kiteers’ as Fatherson’s upcoming single. His voice scales the height of the chorus expertly, while in hushed moments in track ‘James’, acts as a calming authority to “take the weight off your feet and just chill”.

As swiftly as Fatherson leave the stage, We Were Promised Jetpacks take to it. With no introductions, instruments are wielded and music begins to Darren Lackie’s drum beat come roll-call. This UK and Ireland tour was meant to coincide with the release of the band’s third album, Unravelling. However, the September 8th release date has been pushed back to October 6th. Fans thought they would have to wait another month to hear some new material. But they were wrong. These no nonsense rockers throw caution to the wind and open with a new track.

The setlist is peppered with new songs which inevitably makes for an oftentimes subdued crowd, keen to scrutinise and absorb the music. In total We Were Promised Jetpacks rack up a total of five brand new tracks which will feature on Unravelling. These songs are often eerie, a little darker than what has come before. ‘Safety in Numbers’ is the only new song which fans may have heard before, but experiencing it live is entirely different. Stuart McGachan’s organ-eque sound coupled with the heavy bass lines of Sean Smith gives the track a monumental, almost religious vibe.

When the band delve into their back catalogue, audience energy rises. No longer are they scrutinising, but they are experiencing. As the first note of single ‘Quiet Little Voices’ is struck, cheering begins. When his guitar skills are not needed Michael Palmer stares out over the floor taking it all in with a look of awe.

The fun of ‘Boy in the Backseat’ is quickly followed up with the infectious ‘It’s Thunder and it’s Lightening’ to close the night as energy levels peak. As the audience sing along at the end of the night, it seems We Were Promised Jetpacks have succeeded in taking over Belfast. Laura Shields, GiggingNI.com