The Blue Aeroplanes

The Globe, Cardiff on Sunday 8 December 2013

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With a pedigree of some 29 years, The Blue Aeroplanes finally pay Cardiff a visit as part of their short 6-date "Singles" tour. And what better venue than The Globe - Once a cinema, now a thriving music venue in its own right nestled within Cardiff's suburbs. Many of its period features remain which provides the perfect setting to one of Bristol's finest live acts. I’m also glad to say that since my last visit there has been significant investment in a new sound system/PA for this 350 capacity venue. As I arrive, the support band are just finishing their set of what can best be described as punk/metal/rock….not perhaps an obvious fit with the headliners but none the less seems to go down well. It's not long before The Blue Aeroplanes take to the stage. Whilst not a necessarily a household name, The Blue Aeroplanes have acquired cult status regularly gracing the pages of NME, Melody Maker etc, commercially peaking in 1990 with the album 'Swagger' which won them much critical acclaim. 

The Blue Aeroplanes

You would expect any band with a history as long as The Blue Aeroplanes to have had few line-up changes…..to date 48 people can lay claim to have been in the band at one time or another! Tonight's 6-piece incarnation of course features frontman Gerard Langleyin trademark shades cutting an iconic figure on stage. It's notable that the crowd are largely made up of forty-somethings – some proudly wearing their original band T-shirts (albeit on slightly larger frames) with a small smattering of students who probably weren't even born when The Blue Aeroplanes were at the height of their success! For the uninitiated, the set list (in support of their soon to be released singes compilation) serves as an appetiser inviting us to delve deeper beyond the surface. And of course for those who have worshiped them over the decades, tonight presents a perfect opportunity to reacquaint oneself with an old friend. 

The Blue Aeroplanes

With a brief "Hello Cardiff", they open with 'Action Painting' leading on through 'Broken and Mended'  and 'Detective Song'. Bec Jevons thrashing her guitar in the process with rock chick poise juxtaposed with the cool grace of Langley's vocal delivery. About the midway point, they change it up with Chris Sharp swapping his Bass for guitar as he sings lead, leaving his bass in Jevons' safe hands. 

As you would expect, 'Jacket Hangs' is greeted with open arms as the audience feverishly laps up every morsel of swag driven art-rock.

Being a "Singles" tour, 'Bury Your Love Like Treasure', '…And Stones' and 'You Are Loved' are all present and correct and is a testament to the evolution of a band so self-assured. 

It's this sense of self assurance that allows them to mention the words some gig goers dread "…and this is a new song, we hope you enjoy" as they roll out 'Walking Under Ladders' and I for one am glad they did, and judging by the applause, the crowd thought so too.During the encore of 'Breaking In My Heart', all chaos breaks loose (both onstage and off) with various Aeroplanes up on the monitors, leaping off stage into the crowd, who by this point are practically on the stage themselves as they pogo, contort and throw all kinds of shapes in the direction of their heroes. 

So, all in all a fine and fitting conclusion to the night, and their tour which finds The Blue Aeroplanes in very rude health indeed.

The Blue Aeroplanes

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article by: Kevin Pick

photos by: Kevin Pick

published: 10/12/2013 17:43