by Hipster Hamster Hipster Hamster
March 15, 2010

March 1, 2010
Biltmore Cabaret
Vancouver, B.C

Usually, it’s not a good thing if I notice the quality of the mixing at a concert. As a rule of thumb, if the sound guy (or gal) is doing their job well, everything will sound right and they’ll be ignored. The Biltmore Cabaret may very well be providing the exception to this rule. Monday, March 1st, I caught We Were Promised Jetpacks at the increasingly-hip venue, and was yet again blown away by the sound quality. It’s not like the place should have great acoustics—it’s a concrete bunker—so the technical staff are doing a great job. Add that to the list of reasons the Biltmore is becoming my favorite venue in Vancouver.

Let’s get to the music, then, shall we?

I hadn’t heard of either of the openers before the show, and was impressed with both. Bear Hands started things off, and the quartet from New York’s brand of Talking Heads and Grizzly Bear-inspired indie pop had most of the bar’s population nodding and toe-tapping along before the halfway mark of their set.

Photo credit:

The young band did a great job of mixing weird, experimental textures with poppier song structures and melodies. I’d recommend checking them out.

The Lonely Forest took the stage next, after a brief intermission during which my friend Jamie and I played a game of Tetris (did I mention they have a Tetris cabinet at the Biltmore!?) and they veered much closer to stereotypical indie rock than Bear Hands. Early in their set, I leaned over to Jamie and jokingly intoned “Manchester Orchestra?”
Laughing, he replied “I was going to say Death Cab for Cutie…”

As if reading our thoughts, frontman John Van Deusen announced to the crowd that the band would soon be entering the studio to record with Chris Walla, Death Cab for Cutie’s guitarist and producer, and that they were “huge Death Cab fans.” It showed, in terms of song structure and vocal melodies, while Van Deusen’s voice recalls Colin Meloy and Andy Hull. They put on an engaging show, bouncing and flailing across the stage, but as my friend noted are much more interesting live than on record.

By the time We Were Promised Jetpacks assumed their positions, the crowd was buzzing with anticipation. The next hour and a quarter did not disappoint, as the Scottish four-piece powered their way through a blistering set of uplifting, anthemic indie rock. The crowd shouted along to favorites like “Quiet Little Voices” and “Roll Up Your

Photo credit: BTR #1

Sleeve”s, and the band even managed to get most people singing the chorus of new song ”A Far Cry,” from their upcoming EP The Last Place You’ll Look. Almost everybody bounced along in their own version of the hipster-shuffle, while those occupying the front third of the floor jumped and danced along passionately. By the time they finished closer “Short Bursts”, We Were Promised Jetpacks were just as drained and ebullient as the audience, and mutual thanks for a fantastic evening were exchanged between band and fans.


  1. Keeping Warm
  2. Backseat
  3. Roll Up Your Sleeves
  4. It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning
  5. Moving Clocks Run Slow
  6. This Is My House, This Is My Hom
  7. Quiet Little Voices
  8. A Far Cry
  9. Ships with Holes Will Sink
  10. Short Bursts

Visit these artists online:

We Were Promised Jetpacks:
Bear Hands:
The Lonely Forest:

WWPJ “Ships With Holes Will Sink” (live)

WWPJ – “Short Bursts”

WWJP “Quiet Little Voices” music video

Bear Hands “What A Drag” music video

The Lonely Forest “We Sing In Time” (live)


One Response to “Renegade Rock Review Vol. 19: We Were Promised Jetpacks w/ Bear Hands & The Lonely Forest”

  1. [...] Here’s a show review I wrote for westcoastweasel. As usual, you can check it out there for added [...]

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