First gig of the year for me and typically, it was one I had only found out about the night before! The Blue Aeroplanes are a long-established act hailing from Bristol, with a history dating back to the 1980s but the reason I came along this night was because of their guitar player Bec Jevons, who certainly does not hail from then (!) She is also a member of punky rock trio iDestroy, whom I have seen before and once I found out she was going to be here in Liverpool with the Blue Aeroplanes, I decided to take the trip into the city centre and see this band, despite knowing precisely zilch about them!
They were playing the smaller downstairs room at the o2 Academy, and I got in to find the bar area cordoned off (there was a smaller bar at the back of the room), with few people there as the openers (sorry, didn’t catch their name!) finished their set. Whoever they were, they didn’t sound bad at all with a good proportion of lead guitar to their sound.
The Blue Aeroplanes have a new album ‘Welcome, Stranger!’ out and they’d even brought along an illuminated sign advertising that fact to display on stage! Plenty of numbers were performed from it, as the ensemble took to the stage fronted by vocalist/founding member Gerard Langley. He looked cool enough in his shades, and had actually brought on a book which appeared to contain lyrics! His vocal delivery ranges from half-sung to spoken, and he did refer to that book more than once early on for the spoken, more poetry-influenced parts. The band were rockier than I’d bargained for, with heavy-hitting drums from John Langley (Gerard’s brother, and fellow founding member) and no fewer than THREE guitarists on the stage! In addition to all of this, they even have a prototype Bez (or, seeing as we were in Liverpool, a prototype Paul Rutherford!) in stage dancer Wojtek Dmochowski, resplendent in a red T-shirt with the hashtag #KEEPCORBYN emblazoned on it. He provides only visuals with his frankly mind-boggling moves (for a bloke who must be nearing 60) but on this crowded stage, did well to avoid being clattered by any of the musicians! Bec Jevons took a lead vocal for one number, as did fellow guitarist Gerard Starkie, during which time the frontman vacated the stage for them.
I can’t say this style of ‘art-rock’ is really my cup of tea, but this was nonetheless an enjoyable and harder-rocking set than I’d bargained for. In the end about 100 showed on a bitterly cold January night, all in all it was a good start to my gig-going for 2017.