Nine years. It’s been nine whole years since Jetplane Landing were last in town, nine whole years since they last toured at all, in fact. Time flies, times change, but with their ‘Don’t Try’ comeback album, Derry’s finest are proving to still be as vital as they ever were.
Twelve days. It’s been twelve whole days since Doctrines were last in town, twelve whole days since the local heroes were last in the saddle and lobbing out gravelly-pop grenades from their ‘ANX’ début album.
The quartet get straight down to business without so much as a hello, Jamie Birkett’s eyes scrunched tight like he’s a kid hiding from a ghost as he bawls his way through ‘Daydream’, ‘Grey Home & Northern Grammar’ and the furious ‘Teeth’. Meanwhile, new bassist, Joseph Thorpe – formerly of Rolo Tomassi, no less – pneumatically pounds his left leg throughout as though he’s at the mercy of a sadistic puppeteer, sweat seeping from his every pore and no doubt making his already tight black jeans that bit clingier and making Chef’s Arse a real possibility.
Doctrines are a mercurial talent, and while they’re still not the finished article, their progress over the past 18 months has been remarkable.
Where were we? Oh yeah, nine years. It’s a sin that they’ve been away for so long, but the wait is finally over when Jetplane Landing saunter stagewards with sheepish grins and coy nods all round, not to mention the added bonus of bassist Jamie Birchall resembling a benevolent Eric Cantona as opener, ‘Acrimony’, ricochets around the venue’s exposed brick walls. “Bloody hell!” one punter exclaims at its conclusion, and he’s got a point.
Guitarist, Cahir O’Doherty, with riffs tumbling over even bigger riffs is this generation’s Tommy Iommi in a parallel universe, while Andrew Ferris is at his incensed best on ‘Beat Generation…Ha!’, snarling “Hey maggots, get off my turf, I wrote shit like this fucking years ago.” down the mic as Birchall punches the humid air for emphasis. In truth, though, there’s barely anybody that’s come close to them in the intervening years.
‘Why Do They Never Play Les Savy Fav On The Radio?’ and the title track from 2007’s sadly never-toured ‘Backlash Cop’ LP are both wheeled out to general giddiness, and although the crowd don’t gazelle their way around the room as they would’ve done a decade ago, ‘The Violence’, ‘Calculate The Risk’ and ‘The New Standard’ (a genuine contender for the best JPL track despite it being a b-side) all at least result in a flowing tide of upper body movement from the delighted masses.
‘This Is Not Revolution Rock’, the obscenely catchy nugget which started the band’s journey at the end of the 90s brings proceedings to a close, and while – as predicted – it might not have ultimately been revolutionary, it’s pop nous has never been surpassed and is the perfect way to end the night.
Listen to the whole ‘Don’t Try’ album here