Some Noise Pop shows are a sum of their parts: openers with enough reputation to draw a substantial portion of attendees, rounding out an evening that features a particular headliner, creating a true showcase of bands. Other shows, however, start out being almost entirely about the headliner, and the crowd will reflect as such.
Saturday’s show at Slim’s seemed to fall into the latter category. The venue was absolutely packed to the gills with enthusiastic fans of the Scottish band We Were Promised Jetpacks. There was the giant push to the stage as the headliner trickled on; there were outrageous singalongs and the ever-excited pumping of the fists; there was the obligatory drunk dude in an ugly scenester jacket, thrown out for his over-intoxication and unsuccessful attempts to talk the bouncer into giving him a refund.
In contrast, the excitement for the opening bands was not as obvious, yet by no means unfriendly. The crowd watched with casual appreciation, although it was clear which band they were there to support. Therefore, it was an added bonus that the openers all put on solid, eye-opening performances, which balanced the elements and set the stage for the highly-anticipated closing set.
The local talent known asÂ Tempo No Tempo started off the night. Tearing through cuts from 2009’s Waking Heat, the band’s performance was nothing less than jubilant. Their viral earnestness paired with their terse, angular indie rock quite appropriately set the mood for the remainder of the evening.
Brooklyn’s Bear Hands, while not ones for particularly overt stage charisma, displayed some remarkable chops. Their Too Pure-delivered What a Drag songs filled the room with guitar-driven sound, temporarily breaking the core with some jerky rhythms and crackling hooks.
The Lonely Forest (hailing from Anacortes, Washington – where “Free Willy” was filmed, apparently) were the biggest surprise of the night. The band’s performance was quite dynamic, with soaring indie pop reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie meets Weezer meets Band of Horses. Appropriately enough, the Lonely Forest’s third full-length record will be produced by Chris Walla, and will also be the first release on the Death Cab guitarist’s new label imprint, Trans.
Lastly, We Were Promised Jetpacks (currently living large on FatCat Records) were not to be upstaged by their openers, and brought some classic Scottish brogue and muscular, rhythmic indie rock to the eager crowd. In this live setting, every hook seared across the venue, every cymbal crash echoed immensely, every previously-restrained lyric came through as avid melody. In the case of Noise Pop headliner anticipation vs. letdown, the Jetpacks of the promised variety did not disappoint, and earned every piece of devotion they received.