We Were Promised Jetpacks Lifted the Large Slowdown Crowd and Shook the Foundation of the Venue

Omaha, Nebraska | February 22, 2020

We Were Promised Jetpacks at the Slowdown in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturay, February 22, 2020. (Photo by Dean Birkheimer)

DEAN BIRKHEIMER | Go Venue Magazine 

“Ugh. Universe and future, like they’re one and the same…it’s so bright and shiny sci-fi. I’m still waiting on that jet-pack they promised us in the sixties.”  –Doctor Thirteen-

When this show was first announced it was scheduled for the front room at the Slowdown. It wasn’t long after, that by popular demand and ticket sales, that it was moved to the main room.  We Were Promised Jetpacks are a Scottish Indie rock band from Edinburg. They formed in 2003 and played their first gig at their school’s battle of the band competition, which they won. Moving as fast as somebody wearing a jetpack, they moved to Glasgow and by 2009 they had released their debut album These Four Walls. They played that entire album live at the famous King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow.  From there, touring and more touring, including America where These Four Walls had peaked at #27.  The next few years gave us three more studio albums and more touring.  They are a high school band who hasn’t stopped growing.

To open the show, We Were Promised Jetpacks called upon Slaughter Beach, Dog. (and you thought We Were Promised Jetpacks was an odd name for a band). This band is made up of Jake Ewald (vocals) Ian Farmer (guitar), Evan Clarke-Moorehead (bass) and Patrick Ware (drums). I love the quaintness of this band. Their sound is intimate and fragile. Patrick on drums has a very soft touch. I’m not so sure everybody understands how hard it is to play softly and yet so clean.  Jakes voice has an easy flow which matched the lighting perfectly.  Most of the songs came off their latest album Safe And Also No Fear, but my favorite song was “Acolyte” off Birdie. The easy going strumming and soft fingerpicking along with its tempo made this song a tranquil joy.  As they left the stage and were breaking down, Evan came over and thanked me for taking pictures. All I could think in my mind was, how cool, but dude, thank you for just taking me to a new place musically.  That’s what music can do, it can move you physically and emotionally and take your mind to places it’s never been before. 

We Were Promised Jetpacks came out to a very welcoming and lively crowd. Adam Thompson (vocals), Michael Palmer (guitar) Sean Smith (bass) and Darren Lackie (drums). Now I know Adam is Scottish and Wil Wagner of Smith Street Band is Australian, but holy smokes, when “Human Error” started, I had to do a double take, just to be sure they weren’t the same fella. Five seconds later, I knew they weren’t but for a moment, I wasn’t totally sure.  Adam has a more haunting voice and when “Repeating Patterns” began, it was obvious this guy doesn’t sound like anybody else on the planet. “Repeating Patterns” is a real, go-man-go song. It’s fast and strong with a perfect amount of distortion.  It was my song of the night. Now we move a little slower with “Someone Else’s Problem”, then even slower with “Moving Clocks Run Slower”. This seemed to be a carefully thought out set list.  The pace picks up a little with “Safety in Numbers” and then we are given a beautiful rendition of “Not Wanted”.  “Keeping Warm” is next. This is a song that starts very softly, then erupts in the middle into an explosion of sound. Some wondrous lyrics, but it’s the instrumentation on this song that makes it the incredible song that it is.  Matter of fact, it’s so brilliant, I think you should listen to it.  After you’re done, come back and finish reading the review. I ain’t goin’ nowhere.

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Keeping Warm

Welcome back. Hope you enjoyed that.  After “Boys In The Backseat” and “Roll Up Your Sleeves” it’s time for a couple of crowd favorites. “Sore Thumb” and “Quite Little Voices”.  I want you to know that I am huge fan of “Quite Little Voices”, that song just does it for me. I could never hear it enough.  At the same time, I must admit to not being familiar with “Sore Thumb”. There was this guy next to me and before the show we were talking about the band and I had told him about how much I enjoy “Quite Little Voices” and he told me that “Sore Thumb” was the song that does it for him. I can see why. That song is right up there with anything this band has ever put out.  My goodness, the sound of this song is just explosive.  Basically, an instrumental it absolutely shreds you. The commanding way in which Michael controls his guitar is remarkable.   The show closed with “Hanging In” and “Pear Tree”. “Pear Tree” builds and builds, and at about the five-minute mark, it just becomes a blistering force of nature. Don’t even bother to try have a conversation anywhere in the venue during this part of the song, it would be useless.  I don’t believe I have the words in my vocabulary that could accurately describe just how much I enjoyed this show. From the first song by Slaughter Beach, Dog to the last song by We Were Promised Jetpacks, there wasn’t a dud to be found. I know it’s only February and I know there are 10 months left in the year, but it’s going to be hard to beat this show as my show of the year. 

Thank You Slowdown for hosting, Thank You Jessica for allowing Go Venue to shoot the show.

And thank you Dave Bob Magu for the poster and the invite… 


We Were Promised Jetpacks

Slaughter Beach, Dog

All images © Dean Birkheimer
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