|As soon as the Low Flying Jets kicked it off with “New Haven” at CBGB there was no mistake – none. This was gonna be a punk ‘n roll fest. There were a couple tip-offs besides the crunch and grind of the music. Brian Leopold slings his guitar way down low, then bends over it ‘til it's somewhere near his ankles and his hair is almost touching that grungy CB stage (scary!). And Brad York is a tightly wound body in motion, confronting his mic stand as he thrashes his guitar with power cords. Bass player Sam Crowell is obviously into it, and wryly takes in all this craziness as he keeps pumping the bottom into the thing while rhythm-mate Jeff Plate gets wild on drums. With apparent influences from bands like the early Ramones and the Clash, the Low Flying Jets manage to fly this up into another strata. They can pound out the punk rock on a tune like “Shock And Awe,” bordering real close to hardcore with plenty of trash and burn guitars, then Leopold will whip out some amazing licks and – Jesus, that sounded pretty amongst all that chaos. Or York will be delivering an unintelligible series of grunts and groans and then suddenly broadside you with a touching lyric. Yeah, this jet carries the bomb and they’ll hit ya with it when you least expect it.
Formed in New York City in the spring of 2002, the band’s Plate and Crowell had previously teamed up in ska punksters Mothermania. The two had been playing together since junior high school, and Jeff Plate made the switch from guitar to drums so he could hook on with the Low Flying Jets. Meanwhile, York and Leopold came out of the Keatons, and like their rhythm section had also been together an extended time. Since forming, they’ve evolved into a tight unit with very strong songs, like “Murderers,” “Sea Monsters” and “Television (Black Francis),” all of which they played the night I caught them for a very high-energy, maximum impact show. The band’s been getting more and more primo gigs lately – including a recent unadvertised stint with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at the Mercury Lounge – it may make good sense to catch these Low Flying Jets before they soar above the club scene.