In their 35 years the Blue Aeroplanes have certainly been busy; making over 15 studio albums and stabling over 50 band members. Whatever the Fall-like reason for the number of members, the result of their combined work has been the production of some genuinely adventurous, influential, and pioneering, art rock. Not quite jangly enough to sound like R.E.M, not quiet spoken word enough to imitate John Cooper Clark and not quite loud enough to bombast like the Mary Chain, the Aeroplanes have carved out their own unique style which somehow manages to lie in-between the best parts of all three bands at the same time.
Live, lead singer Gerard Langley’s blend of poetic-spoken-word-come-singing are shown off by sonic harmonies provided by a 5 piece band (the 6th member, Wojtek Dmochowski, dances). Former Witness man Gerard Langley, punk-as-they-come Bec Jevons and Mike Youe provide a 3 part blend of technical guitar playing which both holds and drives the sound of the Aeroplanes, making them sound pop and experimental at the same time. Coupled with deep lyrics, and the band’s inability to stand still, the show can be too much at times. But perhaps that’s the point.
New tracks Skin and Elvis-Festival are treat like old favourites, though encore track ‘Breaking in my heart’ receives, justifiably, the loudest cheer of the night having been built around the type of guitar riff which get’s inside you and never lets you go.
Judging by the number of smiles and hugs between the crowd at the end of the gig, this was a true celebration.