The Blue Aeroplanes – Rescue Rooms Nottingham – 18th January 2017

There’s an odd collection of vintage in tow at Nottingham’s fine Rescue Rooms. Sarah comments that it’s almost as if we’ve all been cryogenically frozen for 25 years or so and have now returned to the scenes of our former glories. It’s indeed true that our wardrobes have clearly been raided for band T-Shirts and fashion misdemeanours from the early 1990’s. It’s only our balding pates and ever-increasing waistlines that ensure this doesn’t get marked as some sort of ‘Back To The Future’ convention. 

 That – and the fact that the Blue Aeroplanes are as relevant now, perhaps more so, than they were back in those days.

 “Despite being 50/50 so far, this is not a nostalgia exercise”, states Gerard Langley two songs in, wearing the shades that he’s never without and holding a folder of lyrics that’ll help remind him of his poetry. “But, it is a fitness exercise”, says Wojtek Dmochowski, already beginning to sweat from his gloriously over the top and artfully inclusive dance poses. His #KeepCorbyn T-Shirt, dripping with sweat by the end of the show, is perhaps not worn ironically though we can never be sure.

 It’s a set heavily laden with tracks from the new record. Many have commented that it’ll go down as one of the Blue Aeroplanes’ best and this correspondent has to agree. The more recent additions of Mike Youe and Bec Jevons add a bit of youthful vigour to the band’s presence. Guitar parts mesh joyously with each note adding to the overall purpose. Choruses  hit ecstatic heights after the speak-sing of a typical Gerard Langley verse. Nowhere is this more evident than on the album opener, Looking For X’s On The Map, which tonight is made to sound like one of the most important statements ever.

 Gerard leaves the stage twice (not including the encores). He gives way so that another can have their turn in the spotlight. Jevons uses her time to sing ‘Skin’, a rock belter of a track that sits somewhere between Skunk Anansie and The Pretenders. Watching it performed live, some of the finer intricacies of the tune come to the fore. 

 It’s observed that in Bristol, punters would play a game of pointless requests. Some wag in the crowd shouts out ‘And Stones’ for he knows that the classic is coming soon. And sure enough, it arrives sounding fresh, vital and as spectacular as it ever did.

 There are two encores, the first one ending with the epic Poetland (which insists on coming up as Portland when I type it into my phone). It sees a flurry of activity with all band members imitating Wotjek and dancing around the stage as if we’re at some sort of frenzied and weird barn dance. It’s quite a thing to see.

 “Nothing ever happens in the future”, we’re told – and this is definitely not nostalgia fest akin to an Elvis festival. It can mean only one thing – The Blue Aeroplanes are, without doubt, a live band for RIGHT NOW.


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