Live Review: A night in Glasgow… in Seattle. We Were Promised Jetpacks/The Twilight Sad/Frightened Rabbit – Neumo’s (9/16)
Photos by Alex Crick|Review by Jason Kinnard
Well, Wednesday night certainly got the Fall concert schedule started off with a bang. Holy Shit! This was definitely one that we had circled on our calendars for a while now. Imagine if you will, Neumo’s magically transformed from a Seattle Hipster bar to a cool Glasgow pub that only serves PBR’s and Red Stripe, and you might be in the ballpark. This was one of those rare nights where every band on the bill was solid; a testament to the genius crew over at Fat Cat Records who put this showcase together. The venue was nice and toasty with a completely packed and Sold Out Neumo’s (Nice work chaps!). I usually like it nice and sardined, but I do have my exceptions (I’ll get into that later). All the locals were out to play, including KEXP’s DJ Shannon, our very own @klsargent (Dagger #2), The Viper Squad handling photo detail @crickontour and local Twtterati @mattwhiting & @1sjc. We were right up front for all the action; blocking your view…
*Dagger insider tip: If you see DJ Shannon front row at a show, it’s probably a safe bet it’s a good show.
We Were Promised Jetpacks
OK, So like I mentioned, the line-up for the evening was fantastic. You know things are going to be good when the whole place is just about jam packed for the opening band; in this case We Were Promised Jetpacks. In a city notorious for blowing off opening bands, that’s a pretty good accomplishment just by itself. And why shouldn’t it be packed? These guys put out a great album this year and thankfully the word seems to have gotten out. I don’t think they will be the opening band much longer (and probably shouldn’t have been at Neumo’s). Of course Click & Dagger has been down with the Jetpacks for quite a while now, but this was our first time actually seeing them live. I don’t know what they’ve sounded like anywhere else on tour, but they sounded incredible inside Neumo’s and had an amazing energy to them. I have a feeling this is going to be another one of those shows I look back at and say “Wow, I was there before they were big”. This is a band bound for stardom.
Dagger Insider tip: Buy stronger guitar strings! LOL
The Twilight Sad
Next up were fellow Scotts, The Twilight Sad. To be honest, this was one of the bands I was most excited to see. Unfortunately, their particular sound didn’t seem to resonate well with the Seattle crowd that I talked to at the show. The comments I read were pretty similar afterwards. They were definitely the odd man out on the bill and maybe should have even opened the show. They were pretty different from the opening band, and The Jetpacks were a pretty tough act to follow. You go from watching a band you just fell in love with, to a frontman who only gives the occasional glare into the crowd (when he’s even looking their way). It’s all about the transition and this was maybe the only slip-up of the entire evening. The Twilight Sad did have some definite flashes of brilliance in their set, but the real highlight for me had to be the new song “I Became a Prostitute” which I thought sounded absolutely huge in that room (those Keyboards!). Most of the rest wasn’t as memorable (maybe with the exception of “That Summer At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy”), but I’m not sure their sound is as easy to pull off live. From my angle, I really had a hard time hearing the singer, and that might have made a huge difference. Not that it’s a requirement, but they also didn’t seem to do a very good job connecting with the crowd (James, please turn 45 degrees to your left). Not quite what I expected; I’ll chalk it up to an off night.
Dagger Insider tip: Move the singer up front and turn up his mic.
Finally, the headliner and obvious crowd favorite Frightened Rabbit took the stage. I was about to see what all the fuss was about. The 3rd and final band in what you could easily call a “Scottish Musical Trifecta”. Despite their top of the bill status, this was actually the band I knew the least about coming in. All I knew was that they were likely to be better than the other two bands I had just heard, so I was expecting a lot. Solid Acoustic guitar work and the soaring vocals worked well with what I thought were arguably the best sounding drums of the night. When the drummer shows up with an “ANIMAL!” T-shirt, expect good things. It was clear these boys were the most seasoned of the bunch and they also had the most active crowd of the night. People loved Frightened Rabbit and it was hard not to. Scott Hutchison was definitely the most endearing frontman of the night and the band sounded great live. Of course with any big show, you always have some minor crowd issues. And here’s where I bring up a few pet peeves:
1. We aren’t impressed that you “know the band” or you’ve seen them play somewhere else. Tell them that while you’re buying their merch after the show.
2. When you drink too much, push your way up front, and don’t know how to dance in a small confined space; that annoys people. That’s when I step in front of you and obscure your view (unless of course you happen to be Minka Kelly, which you aren’t).
3. We don’t mind singing along, but there’s a point where you have to draw the line. Finishing a singers lines for him during a quiet song is probably one of those times. Nobody paid to hear your drunk ass sing.
4. Never bump a photographer from the Deadly Viper Photo Squad. Ever.
The band played a nice long set with a perfect 2-song encore; one of which took place literally right above our head. The night ended with band members sitting on the ground and next to amplifiers as the feedback marked a poetic end to the evening. I definitely love hearing new bands and this was a fantastic night of discovery for me and just about everyone else in attendance. Make no mistake, Frightened Rabbit were exceptionally good, but on this night We Were Promised Jetpacks might have just stole the show.
All 3 of these bands are currently touring, check them out where you live and tell us about it!