Blue Aeroplanes for a Tuesday night. Around since 1981 and still going strong, although the Langley Brothers (Gerard and John), the two mainstays who have been the core of the group since Day One, are the only founding members still performing.
From their excellent Wikipedia page:
The Blue Aeroplanes first performed under that name at the King Street Art Gallery in Bristol in 1981. They consisted mainly of former members of the Art Objects, with the addition of Nick Jacobs, former guitarist and vocalist of Southampton band The Exploding Seagulls. The same line-up played three or four concerts over the next couple of years, either at the gallery or for benefits, including a Karl Marx centenary performance at the Victoria Rooms, with the addition of trumpet and didgeridoo. The Blue Aeroplanes’ first album Bop Art was released on their own Party Records in 1984, and was rapidly picked up by the Abstract (US) and Fire (UK) labels. It contained material that had been considered as a follow-up to Art Objects’ only album, Bagpipe Music. Gerard Langley’s largely spoken poetic lyrics were combined with a heavily guitar-centric band that went on to release Tolerance (1986) and Spitting Out Miracles (1987) and several singles and EPs whose B-sides were brought together in the compilation FriendLoverPlane (1988), all on the Fire label.
On 24 February 1990, the band released their most critically acclaimed album, Swagger, this time on a major label Chrysalis/Ensign. This was followed by Beatsongs which was recorded in the United States and released in 1991. This second album on the major label was their highest charting, reaching no. 33 in the UK album charts. A second compilation of rare B-sides and out-takes, FriendLoverPlane2 (Up in a Down World), was released in 1992.
The follow-up to Beatsongs was delayed until 1994 when the album, Life Model was released on the Beggars Banquet label, followed by Rough Music in 1995. “Broken & Mended” from Life Model was the band’s last single to chart and is a favourite at gigs. A long break and another label change to ArtStar preceded the release of Cavaliers in 2000. Following negotiations with EMI who now owned the rights to Swagger and Beatsongs, The Blue Aeroplanes made a surprise return to this major label. EMI re-released Swagger Deluxe as a 2-CD version in January 2006. This was followed by an album of new material called Altitude later that year, released on EMI’s Harvest imprint. The group then recorded an album of cover versions of classic tracks that were originally recorded by artists signed to the Harvest label. The album, called Harvester, was released by EMI/Harvest in 2007.
As well as the two FriendLoverPlane compilations, several other compilations have been released in recent years. Huh! The Best of The Blue Aeroplanes (1987–1992) was released by EMI/Chrysalis in 1997 and featured many of the songs from Swagger and Beatsongs. Also in 1997, Warhol’s 15 The Best of the Blue Aeroplanes (1985–1988) was released and covered the preceding period when the band was signed to Fire records. In 1996 Fruit (live 1985–1995) was released on Fire records and covered 10 years of live performances recorded at various venues. Then in 2001, ArtStar released Weird Sh*t which featured both rare tracks and alternative versions of some of the band’s best-known songs from Swagger through to ‘Cavaliers.
In 2008 and 2009 limited edition live albums were released and sold at the annual Christmas gig at Fiddlers in Bristol. Live in Cheltenham (2008) and Skyscrapers (2009) were limited to just 100 copies each and each featured songs not included on the other live CD. Their Christmas gig moved to The Fleece a few years later and is a staple in their touring calendar.
The band released a new album Welcome, Stranger! in January 2017 through Pledgemusic.
You can still catch them – but if you’ve missed them in recent years, here’s a good place to catch up, via their appearance at the 6 Music Festival in Bristol from February 14, 2016.
Crank it up and get ready for Hump Day!