It’s taken me a few days to gather my thoughts on how to approach this one. Partly because I have been busy with normal life stuff, partly because I didn’t want to write a negative piece but had been struggling with a kind of negative mindset aftermath since the gig. I knew this had little or nothing to do with the show or the band itself, so wanted to figure it all out before writing.
I bought the ticket for this gig back in about March, not long after I saw Mystery Jets the last time. That was such an immense gig that I was full of enthusiasm for the band’s return and their new album Curve of the Earth. I have listened to the album a fair bit since its release, but in recent months I have found myself listening to new and different genres of music. I can feel a potential blog post about that brewing away inside me, so I won’t go into all that just now. I still love the record but found it difficult to build up any anticipation in advance of the gig. It didn’t help that it came less than a week after I travelled to Berlin to see a certain other favourite band (no blog post about that for various reasons but I had a thoroughly good time) so I was still in that post-holiday post-gig high combined with post-holiday post-gig low that it was all over. It was also in Edinburgh, which meant packing my bag once again and heading off, with the usual preparation regarding the kids that that involves.
I actually had a good couple of hours in Edinburgh the afternoon before the gig. I couldn’t remember ever going up Arthur’s Seat (although I may have been dragged up there as a child, my parents were big into hillwalking) so I decided to take a hike. Despite it being busier than Sauchiehall Street, it was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours and cleared my head before heading to the gig.
After a quick return to the hotel (the very funky Hub by Premier Inn on East Market St) for a shower and a bite to eat, I set out. I had never been to the Liquid Room before, so I took a bit of a tourist trail up the Royal Mile.
I was there fairly early but the first support was already on. In fact by the time I checked my coat, went to the bathroom and got a drink, they were pretty much done. I didn’t really catch their name, it sounded like The Hoohas. I didn’t hear enough to form any proper impression. I had decided to take a position on the balcony rather than down the front, so had a good view of the stage but wasn’t right in the mix of things. The position suited my mood.
The 2nd support quickly came on, they were The Big Moon and I was looking forward to seeing them after hearing a fair bit about them. I liked them. They were energetic, kind of low-fi indie pop with tight playing, nice harmonies and catchy melodies. They really got me in the mood for the Jets and I started to relax into the vibe.
Ugh, I still have mixed feelings about the Jets’ set. I’m sure some of this is to do with my mood on the day, also to do with some other stuff I’m working through at the moment which sometimes leaves me in a bit of a funk, but I reluctantly have to admit it is also to do with the set itself. It was a good show, they were all on good form, they played well etc etc but I didn’t get on with the setlist at all. They played the obligatory old hits. Fine. They also played 2 songs from an EP that they released just a week or so ago. I had listened once, while at work so the songs didn’t really stick with me. A few enthusiastic fans greeted them with vigour, but the rest of the crowd was a bit confused. I suspect most people are still getting familiar with the album, never mind adding in a new EP. They played several songs from Curve, but neither of my favourites that absolutely rocked last time – Taken By The Tide or Blood Red Balloon. Saying that, the crowd were receptive enough to the slower album songs that they did play, so maybe the flat feeling I was experiencing was my own construction. I still can’t look back on this gig objectively.
New(ish) bassist Jack got the crowd doing a nice call-and-response thing during Bombay Blue and there was spontaneous arm-waving during a Will-lead song that I can’t remember now.
They finished on Flakes, which is always a crowd-pleaser. I went away with a mixed feeling but overall glad I had been there.
There were a lot of people waiting outside, but not previously having the best of luck with meeting the band after gigs, I decided to wait for a limited time only. It then transpired that most of the people hadn’t come from the gig, but were waiting to go into the club night in the venue. Only a handful of people were actually waiting for the Jets. I stood around a bit, replying to messages etc then Jack emerged. In true rock-star style, he gathered up a posse of waiting bright young things and headed off into the night. I decided to call it a day and walked back to my hotel. No sooner had I arrived, got a cup of tea and into my pjs than I saw a tweet from the band giving the location of the “after-party”. Oh well. Tea and jammies were far more appealing at that point.
It WAS a good gig, I DID have a good time and I’m glad I went, so maybe it was just that it wasn’t quite as good as the previous one, maybe the setlist just didn’t do it for me, I don’t even know myself.