The Bristol legends return to Liverpool with a new album and Getintothis’ Edward Feery goes along.
Downstairs at the O2 Academy is even more intimate than usual for ‘80s art-rockers The Blue Aeroplanes, thanks to the tarpaulins closing off the main bar.
Support band Kashmir Kids throw themselves into their six-song set; theirs is a brand of rock which tends towards the epic, particularly the closing opus Fairytale. It’s a pleasing aperitif for the main event.
The Blue Aeroplanes’ career now spans thirty-five years, forty-eight members and fourteen albums – the most recent of which, Welcome, Stranger!, was released just last Friday.
Seven of them take to the stage tonight; vocalist Gerard Langley spins poetic spoken-word compositions over a surprisingly energetic punkish jangle, his bandmates cavorting around the stage.
Dancer Wojtek Dmochowski is an entrancing dynamo, barely stopping for the entire ninety minutes the band are onstage. At key moments he stops, eyes closed and breathing deeply, hands rising above his head before dropping to his side, almost transcendent.
The intensity never drops; guitarist Bec Jevons seems to spend most of the gig stood against the crash-barrier, basking in the adulation of the hardcore fans down the front.
Periodically Langley will depart the stage without warning and allow one of his colleagues to do their own number; it’s a canny way of mixing things up, and also keeps the audience on their toes.
Having dropped indie anthem ‘Jacket Hangs’ around the hour mark, the Blue Aeroplanes return for not one but two encores. It’s somehow befitting their status as one of Bristol’s best-loved secrets.
Photos by Getintothis’ Gary Coughlan