People in Planes, the Welsh indie-pop quintet, slickly landed on the Kool Haus stage and provided a forty-five minute set of ethereal music from their much lauded debut album As Far As The Eye Can See. Though their grimy sullied appearance is reminiscent of the grunge bands of the 90's, musically, they are definitely of this era.
Opening with the reggae beat of "For Miles Around (Scratch To Void)", vocalist Gareth Jones belts out the anthemic chorus "Zilch to do, For miles around, No one but you, For miles around". After briefly greeting the audience, PIP, meld right into the heavier "Light For The Deadvine", which offers melodic hooks that latch on and grip you taut. The complex layered mix of piano and synthesizer by keyboardist, Ian Russel, is perfectly complimented by the steady beat of drummer, John Maloney.
With his beautiful south Wales accent, Gareth takes time to thank fellow tour mates, Wintersleep and Pilate for "making me feel less homesick". "This is the last weekend of our tour and we'd like to dedicate this song to them", continues Jones as the band leads right into "Moth", a high intensity Muse-like song.
As the band ripped into crowd favourite "If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)", all hands were in the air. This multifaceted song is a playground for Peter Roberts' lead guitar-providing lots of zap and zing throughout. Even, Kris Blight (bass) makes his way to the front of the stage during the high-energy performance. "Penny" and "Barracuda", display the harder rocking edge to PIP. The cool Cotton Club into to "Penny" evoked cheers from the crowd that grew as Jones hammered out a beat on the tambourine. "Barracuda" opens with a hard driven blues line and added some whimsy to the night with lyrics like "Don't play scuba with a Barracuda".
Two choice songs for me were "Rush" and "Falling By The Way Side", both offering up a modern mix of rock and soulful melody. The tight musical bond between Jones and Roberts reflects in their easy flow of guitar and vocals. Gareth's high, clear and passionate vocals on "Rush" are impeccable. There is an almost mournful atmosphere that comes across in the lingering "Falling By The Wayside" as the two sing in perfect harmony.
The epic "Narcoleptic" which showcases the band's unusual instrumental arrangements and alternative sounds, ends the trip and brings us firmly back to earth.
For more information on People in Planes visit www.peopleinplanes.com.
Writer: Lisa Kerr