March 12, 2010

Concert Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Lincoln Hall in Chicago - 3/11/10

Before we get into the bands, let me take a minute to acknowledge that Lincoln Hall is now among my favorite venues in the city. It's a place for the mid-level band that's too big for Schuba's and Martyr's but too small for the Metro or the Riv. The acoustics were great, the balcony was cool, and there are plenty of bars to serve even the most alcoholic of music fans. The only real hangup that I could find was that a "sold out" crowd actually seemed oversold. Either the people in front of the stage were taking up extra room, or there were too many people in the place to begin with.

Moving on, I got there just in time to see the second opener, The Lonely Forest out of Anacortes, WA. I will say this about them, the musicianship and actual music were pretty good. I actually could listen to this music in the background and not be upset that it was on (that's pretty good in my book). However, their sound is so close to Death Cab for Cutie that they might as well just play covers. That being said, it's no surprised that the band was recently signed to Chris Walla's (guitarist for Death Cab) new label. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a few minor hits on the indie music scene, but they'll always be overshadowed by their better known sound alike.

Now, on to bigger (slightly) and better things. We were Promised Jetpacks hit the stage at 11PM and it was like something out of a 80's sci-fi flick. Either that or there was a mechanical voice repeating someone's credit card number over and over again. The band entered to a full house, and Adam Thompson said that the band was not used to playing venues with balconies (check, Lincoln Hall). They then proceeded to rock out for a short 50-minute set.

The music, as one would expect, was fast-paced, guitar-driven rock, but I have to give props to the drummer, that guy was working it out. I would say the highlight of the set for me was the only song played from their new EP, "A Far Cry", which coincidentally was the only track that included an elongated section played in less than eighth notes. Other notable songs included the single "Quiet Little Voices" which was played early in the set and started to get the crowd into it, and "Short Bursts," which being the set closer was sadly the only other song that received any real amount of crowd participation.

Now, to address the shortcomings of the show, I have to say I hardly think that they were the result of the band. As I mentioned before, the overcrowded main floor made it really hard to get into the music in a manner you would normally expect at a show like this, and I think that carried over to the band. They just seemed to lack the energy that you would expect from a band whose style is kinda on the indie/punk border. I'd be excited to see them in a more suitable venue, or at least at a similar venue with a few less people.


Keeping Warm
Quiet Little Voices
Moving Clocks Run Slow
Ships With Holes Will Sink
A Far Cry
A Half Built House
It's Thunder And Lightning
Roll Up Your Sleeves
This Is My House, This Is My Home
An Almighty Thud
Short Bursts

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