Saturday, November 7, 2015

We Were Promised Jetpacks - Seoul -- Black Cat - Nov 6 2015

by John Miller

Seoul - I'm a little late tonight; traffic, and as a result missed the majority of this set. Monday I compared Ra Ra Riot to Phoenix and that was probably a reach at best. While yes, there were some similarities, the comparison was probably erroneous in regards to their closeness to sound. Phoenix has this blasé, easy attitude, one that comes with years of playing and a confidence in their abilities that Ra Ra Riot’s earnest style lacked. And it is that attitude, specifically the blasé that I immediately notice with opening act Seoul; the easy, laid back sound that could care less if you dance or not. Yeah they'd probably like you to move but if you are partial to a cold beer and staring at the floor, they'd be perfectly fine with that as well.
We Were Promised Jetpacks - The band sneak on to stage under the guise of a rather ominous backing track. It's loud, they are playing the shit out of their instruments and every one bounces along to these mostly 4/4 post punk pieces occasionally wooing in between the rare breaks in vocals. The bouncing comes as the drums speed up, letting this amped crowd know that now, is the time to move. The drums rhythmically thump as it becomes most apparent that, it’s the drums, which they lean on the most. They sound great and with every fill or time change, We Were Promised Jetpacks follows right along.

The songs played so far tonight are significantly longer than I expected. I suspect that has to do more with my listening tendencies than anything We Were Promised Jetpacks is doing. It isn't as if they need to think about length as there is more than enough going on here. Rhythmical changes abound, as they move from quite, fast and manic, then back to shoe gazing.

Sorry to belabor a point, but these drums really are something. As We Were Promised Jetpacks begin their fourth song, the drums set the tone for an especially engaging piece; slowly, gradually building to an exceptional apex before an amazing resolution. The action rises, they grow and change over time, climax, then as the denouement starts to take shape, the rest of the band supports the completion of this tale.

It's interesting to hear a vocal accent throughout. Usually more often than not, accents disappear under layers of music, hiding. Though it certainly isn't a 'Willy' type of accent, that hint we are hearing, is a welcome addition, and does just that, adds another layer. Adam is effortless. Relying mostly on a clear, average tempo, there are occasional bursts as he becomes more punk than post - punk, then back again.

The crowd is suspiciously lively tonight. There is a back and forth even though We Were Promised Jetpacks are on the quiet side in regards to their crowd work. They don't say much but the crowd responds to the music as opposed to any asides, clapping in unison and occasionally singing along. Each end is met with a rousing applause of whistles, incoherent yelps, and standard clapping. I even saw some drunken head banging.

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