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We Were Promised Jetpacks Celebrate 10 Years of ‘These Four Walls’ in Brooklyn

We Were Promised Jetpacks 10th Anniversary

Words and Photos by Matt Di Paola

Pop Break Live: We Were Promised Jetpacks ‘These Four Walls’ 10 Year Anniversary with Catholic Action at Music Hall of Williamsburg

This concert review is almost 10 years in the making. 

The year was 2010.  iTunes was still a thing for music discovery and I was in San Francisco during the Noise Pop Festival. I noticed a Scottish band with a clever name called ‘We Were Promised Jetpacks’ (WWJP) headlining at Slim’s that weekend. I quickly scanned my song of the day podcasts and found ‘Ships With Holes Will Sink’ on my iPod. Anthemic song. Powerful guitars. Lyrics that tell little stories.

I was in.

But I had no idea what I was walking into. These four Scottish lads walked confidently on to the stage as ‘A Half Built House’ started to play. It was mysterious. The anticipation in the crowd was building. Slim’s was electric. As they transitioned into ‘Keeping Warm’ the energy in the crowd erupted. Everyone knew every note and every word to every song from there on. I stood there amazed, watching Adam Thompson, their lead singer, who stood about a foot back from the microphone as he bellowed song after song into it and the crowd sang along with him at every note.

Fast forward to July 31, 2019. WWJP played the last show of their These Four Walls 10th anniversary tour at a place they know and love and have played several times before, the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, which conveniently for me, is only a short flight from Toronto.  

Like Frightened Rabbit introduced WWJP to the world, WWJP introduced another Scottish band to their fans. Catholic Action quickly warmed up the head nodding and beer drinking crowd with infectious, catchy and more danceable Scottish pop songs like ‘L.U.V.’ and ‘Doing Well.’


Sure, Catholic Action were awesome, but we were here to celebrate an album that had meant something to each of us in attendance over the past 10 years. There was also a twinge of sadness and respect as the crowd and the band were also there to pay tribute to their lead guitarist, Michael Palmer, who was retiring from the band after this tour and after this last performance.  

From the opening notes of ‘Thunder and Lightning’, Adam, Michael, Sean Smith (on bass) and Darren Lackie (on drums) put everything they had into playing these songs for the last time together for the crowd. They played These Four Walls in its entirety, front to back and with all of us shaking our fists and singing along ‘I’m young again, I’m young again’ during favourites like ‘Quiet Little Voices’ and the couples in the crowd took a more intimate moment during ‘Conductor.’ 

As they led into the intro of ‘Keeping Warm,’  the raw emotion on stage was palpable. The band put everything they had into the instrumental opening of the first four minutes of that song with Michael visibly shredding his guitar for the crowd this one last time. We were fortunate enough to witness the pure energy and joy of these lads from Edinburgh just doing what they love.  We had a clear sense of what it was like to see them jam and be in the moment of their own music. The band and audience got a bit of reprieve after that cathartic release with Adam leading an acoustic version of ‘An Almighty Thud’.

The band followed These Four Walls with a mix of songs from other albums including: Hanging In, Boy in the Backseat, Sore Thumb, The More I Sleep the Less I Dream, Repeating Patterns and closing with Pear Tree.  In between one of the songs while Adam was tuning his guitar, the crowd erupted with ‘We love you Michael’ cheers and a round of applause.  

The show ended with each of the band members putting their instruments down and standing in respect for each other, as Adam finished with Pear Tree.   This tour was over.  Michael was now officially retired.  As the band walked off the stage, Michael took his copy of the setlist with him. 

Adam thanked everyone and encouraged anyone who wanted to chat to swing by the merch stand afterwards and also made sure that everyone knew there was a collection jar for ‘Tiny Changes’, the mental health charity set up by Frightened Rabbit, the band who helped WWJP get their start, both with their first record deal and tour of These Four Walls. 

A fine tribute to a seminal debut album. 


Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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