Ten years ago, Scottish indie rockers We Were Promised Jetpacks released their debut album These Four Walls, a record which still holds up in ways that several other albums released at the time haven't. On the album, the band managed to balance adrenaline-pumping rhythms with incredible drumming, soaring, shouted choruses, and passionate vocals from frontman Adam John Thompson, all of which continue to sound completely ageless. I've listened to the record dozens of times since its release, and to this day, there's hardly a moment where I'm compelled to skip a track. As a whole, it's the band's most shining achievement.
The band probably realized this was the case as well, when they announced a 10th-anniversary tour of the record, in which they'd play the album in its entirety. That tour hit Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday (7/31), and the show was a special one for everyone involved. Following an earlier announcement he would be leaving the band, this NYC date was guitarist Michael Palmer's final day on stage with the rest of his bandmates, and to mark the occasion, the band came out firing on all cylinders.
Even though most of the audience already knew what to expect setlist-wise, the crowd still erupted in excitement when the first guitar riff of "It's Thunder And It's Lightning" began blaring through the music hall. Aside from being a stunning opener to the record, it also serves as an exhilarating live opener too, as it begins with a sparse, guitar-and-vocal-only arrangement, before the full band explodes into an aggressive, glorious attack. Witnessing that eruption live only enhanced the effect.
The band performed the rest of These Four Walls with little to no banter, as the album's tracklist rolled on seamlessly. However, when the band reached the album's roaring lead single "Quiet Little Voices" (which probably remains their most popular song), the crowd had a noticeable uptick in energy, as a large mosh pit formed within the middle of the audience throughout the song. The album's following tracks, "Moving Clocks Run Slow" and "Short Bursts," also kept this high amount of energy flowing through the audience, with nearly every crowd member around me yelling each lyric as loudly as possible. Shortly afterwards, the band performed the album's epic centerpiece, "Keeping Warm," which is an example of their brief flirtations with post-rock on the album. During the song, the hall was lit up by a disco ball, as the track, over its 8-minute runtime, built intensely to a crushing finish.
Each member of the band was visibly having a good time throughout the show, with Adam John Thompson often wildly gazing at the ceiling while furiously strumming a single chord. Michael Palmer was also making the most of his final tour date as a member of the band, as he twirled and bounced around onstage throughout most of the set. During the second half of the show, an audience member used a brief silence among the crowd to adoringly shout, "We love you Michael!" The audience cheered on the departing guitarist, who smiled on, as fans clapped for nearly a minute in his honor. Before the penultimate song of the night began, I spotted Michael folding his setlist and placing it in his pocket, giving off the sense that this was a night he'll want to remember.
The band concluded the show with a run of tracks from their most recent LP, The More I Sleep The Less I Dream. Although these cuts weren't quite as on par with the songs on These Four Walls, the band's lively stage presence was enough to keep everyone on board. The band also broke out the sprawling "Sore Thumb" from their 2011 album In the Pit of the Stomach, which showed the band working like a well-oiled machine on stage instrumentally, making for the most captivating moment of the night.
Before the band left, Adam made sure to mention the Tiny Changes Foundation, created in honor of the band's longtime friend and late Frightened Rabbit frontman, Scott Hutchison. At the band's merch table, fans could leave donations in a jar, which would support the recently-created mental health awareness organization.
Before WWPJ took the stage, fellow Scottish band Catholic Action played a sharp opening set, which contained tons of psychedelic, punky earworms from their 2017 album In Memory Of, as well as some unreleased music from their upcoming sophomore LP, which the band says will be out in February.
View more fan-shot photos and some videos of WWPJ's set below...