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Speculation: Why We Were Promised Jetpacks are destined for stardom

We Were Promised JetpacksWe Were Promised Jetpacks filled the Rock and Roll Hotel on Saturday. Next time, it will be a much bigger venue.

Young Scottish quartet We Were Promised Jetpacks played a sold-out show at Rock and Roll Hotel on Saturday night. This is impressive, but not unheard of, of course. About halfway through the band's set, though, it became apparent that there would be more sellouts in the band's future, at venues much bigger than 400-capacity H St. club. Here are some reasons why.

1) All attendees equally enraptured
Sometimes a sold-out show will be filled with curious (and not-so-curious) onlookers who bought tickets because they heard it was the cool thing to do, not because they were big fans. More of a social outing than anything else. And while there were a handful of weekend revelers at the back of the club the majority of the concertgoers spent their time very focused on the band. Sing alongs, fist pumps, intense gazes, evenly split between both genders. People weren't there for a night out; they were there to see We Were Promised Jetpacks.

(More reasons, after the jump.)

2) Who are these people?
I have a concert-going compulsion. (Evidence.) I see lots of familiar faces at pretty much every show. On a related note, I go to lots of shows by bands that not many people besides myself seem to like. I didn't recognize a single person at this show. What does that mean? Possibly a few things, possibly nothing. But if I can do just a bit of audience profiling, I'd say that WWPJ has already managed to attract more casual fans - you know, the kind you need to break from the indie pack - and that if the people at Saturday's show aren't the types to go to tons of shows, it'll make their connection with the band that much stronger and make them extremely unlikely to miss them next time around.

3) The sound, silly
WWPJ is one of three bands on the Fat Cat label (Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit being the others) that is leading an unlikely movement of anthemic Scottish emo. All three bands deal in crescendos and catharsis but Jetpacks have the most arena-ready sound of the three. WWPJ is still settling into its massive sound but as it develops it will quickly outgrow small clubs and need to play in bigger spaces. Right now they are still in their "I Will Follow" phase; a "Streets Have No Name" phase surely lurks.

By David Malitz  |  February 15, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Speculation  | Tags: We Were Promised Jetpacks  
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Next: Album review: Jaheim, "Another Round"

Comments

Like your analysis of the crowd. You're spot on -- you can tell from the crowd when a band is destined for big things. Same thing happened at Frightened Rabbit's Black Cat backstage show in 2008. I went expecting to be one of maybe 10 people there, and they actually sold it out. And I didn't recognize a soul there. They manage to pull in a lot of people who aren't normally big music fans.

At the end of the day, I actually like both bands (WWPJ and FR) quite a bit. But I don't look forward to having to see them in huge venues.

Posted by: BabyStew | February 15, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

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