IF YOU GO
■ What: We Were Promised Jetpacks with Honeyblood.
■ When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 11.
■ Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.
■ Admission: $10.
■ Phone: 423-267-4644.
■ Website: www.rhythm-brews.com.
2009 “These Four Walls” / “Quiet Little Voices”
2011 “In the Pit of the Stomach”
2014 “E Rey: Live in Philadelphia”
Bay City Rollers. Mark Knopfler. The Proclaimers. KT Tunstall. Paolo Nutini. Snow Patrol.
Never mind the bagpipes — or Susan Boyle — pop and rock musicians of every stripe have long been one of Scotland’s greatest cultural exports. In 2004, indie five-piece We Were Promised Jetpacks won its high school’s battle of the bands, burst out onto the Edinburgh scene, later joining the ranks of Scots with international appeal.
From the beginning, the members of We Were Promised Jetpacks bonded over the music of Scottish power trio Biffy Clyro. After haunting Edinburgh clubs early on, the band and its blend of punk, alt-rock and pop got a leg up in popularity in 2009 when it made its first international tour in America in support of Fat Cat Records labelmates Frightened Rabbit.
They were warmly received by American audiences, and building an international fan base was encouraging, but more than anything, they were just happy to be scraping by, recalls guitarist Michael Palmer.
“We just wanted to be good enough to keep doing it,” he writes, in an emailed response last week while the band was touring the upper Midwest.”We wanted to write songs that would make a good album, then hope the album would be good enough that we’d get to make another. That’s about as big picture as it gets.”
Whatever its members’ intentions, however, We Were Promised Jetpacks’ notoriety has grown significantly over the years. The band currently has more than 21,000 followers on Spotify, where about 10 of its songs have been listened to more than 250,000 times.
Tuesday, March 11, Palmer and his bandmates will take the stage at Rhythm & Brews in the midst of a U.S. tour that will see the band celebrate passing another international milestone with its first date in Mexico on March 16.
Last year, the band took a prolonged hiatus from touring to “slip back into normal-person mode” and to put in work on its third, as-yet-untitled album. Palmer says fans on this tour will be able to hear four or five unreleased songs written during this period.
Although the records are how “the vast majority” of the fanbase are familiar with We Were Promised Jetpacks’ music, Palmer says he and his bandmates welcome the chance to get back on the road and connect with audiences more directly.
“[We hope] that they like the music, that they leave having had a good experience and maybe that their ears hurt a little,” he writes.
Contact Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...