Photographs by Sarah Rix.
There’s something to be said for a live performance that takes you somewhere, transports you to a place beyond the stage, the crowd. When a performance really resonates with you it shifts space and time to move you mentally and emotionally. This may sound like woo-woo rhetoric, but try witnessing Edinburgh blokes We Were Promised Jetpacks live and not get carried away.
It was hard to look past the fact that there were four guitarists on stage. Four guitarists standing side by side. It’s easy to imagine what it’s like to stare up at four guitarists, but imagination has nothing on the experience. When the guitarists of We Were Promised Jetpacks stared down at you, it transcended being something you heard and became something you felt. It hit you like a literal wall of sound.
There was real enthusiasm here and it showed. Watching lead guitarist Michael Palmer bent over, shredding, shaking with exertion. Catching the smile splitting bassist Sean Smith’s face from side to side as he strummed along. Seeing the sweat drip from lead singer Adam Thompson’s brow as he played face to face with keyboard/backing guitarist Stuart McGachan, there was no question that they were giving it their all. The fervour was infectious and the crowd backed them every step of the way. There was a contingent of Scottish boys cheering along. You couldn’t help but ride the energy they exuded. You became part of it and it filled you with a joy that was impossible to quash.
It was that energy that really brought their performance to life. Watching the band play, there was a sense of strong connection. A familial quality reminiscent of brothers jamming out in the family tree house, enhanced by the practiced fluidity of musicians who knew their craft. It felt somehow intimate, yet triumphant. Slow building anthem Keeping Warm was overwhelmingly enthralling, while the punchy It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning would’ve scored a standing ovation had the crowd not already been on its feet. They may’ve been denied the jetpacks they were promised, but their performance took off all the same.
Thanks to Collective Concerts for media access.