Manchester Deaf Institute
18 June 2013
Bristol band The Blue Aeroplanes’ return to Manchester for the first time in seven years had been hotly anticipated says Louder Than War’s writer & photographer Alex Staszko whose review (and pics) follow.
The Blue aeroplane’s previous album came out last year on vinyl alone as a big 2 fingers up to illegal downloads (although it did eventually come out on CD) so when singer Gerard Langley proclaimed tonight at the start of the show ““Buy a record player” it was met with a nice round of applause.
Tonight’s gig, however, isn’t to mark that album but rather to mark the 20th anniversary reissue of their “Beatsongs” album.
Support tonight came from Patrick Duff (ex of Strangelove) & his weird solo set went down well. There was some looping at the beginning which really didn’t do it for me but by half way through he’d win me over despite there being a song about Brian Jones that rhymed his name with The Rolling Stones.
His voice reminded me a little of Frank Sinatra in places. His songs were mainly quiet with some very weird loud intros. His best & last song is introduced as “This is the only song about monkeys you’ll hear tonight” – and indeed it was!
So, on to the Aeroplanes set. Tonight they have only 3 guitarists (they have their near legendary “Are you, or have you ever been a member of The Blue Aeroplanes?” t-shirt is on sale – they used to get any number of passing guitarists up on stage for the encores, hence there’s a long & impressive list of names on the shirt).
The set is largely drawn from “Beatsongs”, but not in the order of the album.
Langley declares they have 25 songs written for a new album. The band flirted with chart success back in the 80’s and their overlaid jangly buzzsaw guitar artrock sound still sounds fresh today.
From the opener “Aeroplane Blue” to the frenetic 7 minute stunning version of “Breaking In My Heart” in the encore, Langley’s part singing, part recited poetry vocals enthrall us all.
“Jacket Hangs” goes down well as does a cover of “The Boy In The Bubble” (a single from “Beatsongs.”) In an ideal world the Blue Aeroplanes would have been as big as their contemparies & fans R.E.M. But unfortunately for now they will just have to sadly remain a cult band loved by their audience.
I just hope they don’t leave it as long before playing Manchester again.
“Beatsongs” double CD reissue is out now. You can grab yourselves a copy HERE.
Below is a photo gallery from the show.
All Words & pictures by Alex Staszko. You can find more of Alex’s work on Louder Than War in his author’s archive.