October 27, 2008 at 07:20 PM EDT

Edinburgh, Monday morning

Brit rockers Snow Patrol are a big deal in the US thanks to their single, “Chasing Cars”. But they are genuine megastars in the UK where their last album, Eyes Open, was the bestselling CD of 2006. Despite being able to sell out stadia, the quintet have chosen to launch their latest collection of hook-heavy laments, A Hundred Million Suns, with a private jet-powered whistlestop tour of four small venues in a quartet of cities (Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh, and London) in just two days. Along for the ride? Yours truly: a nervous plane passenger who doesn’t really appreciate being asked if I’m “ready to rock” by the aforementioned plane’s pilot, but otherwise has few complaints at the tour’s halfway point.

addCredit(“Getty Images”)

The whole high-speed shebang kicked off yesterday morning in Dublinwhere lead singer Gary Lightbody (pictured performing in Belfast) ledthe band through a lunchtime set at the Gate Theatre that mixed uphighlights from the new album with more familiar offerings. Althoughthe performances were fine, the show was a somewhat subdued affair asif both band and crowd, who stayed in their seats for nearly the wholeshow, had agreed to have the kind of fun that doesn’t involve breakingsweat. Maybe the problem was the earliness of the hour. Or maybe it wasthe fact that they were playing in front of the set for the Gate’sproduction of 19th century Norwegian playwrite Henrik Ibsen’s  Hedda Gabler (it’s the female Hamlet! Well, it is according to Wikipedia. Truth be told, 19th century Norwegian playwrites are not my strongest suit). 

Regardless, the second show of the day, at Belfast’s Empire Club,was a decidedly more rocking affair with the Northern Irish Lightbodyclearly enjoying what was, in effect, a hometown gig and the crowdclearly enjoying both the band and being, well, drunk. Highlightsincluded Lightbody dedicating one song to his 15-month-old niece,Honey, who was at the show, and dedicating another, Belfast love letter“Take Back The City,” to “the many f—ing amazing bands coming out ofNorthern Ireland.”

Ear muffs, Honey! Ear muffs!

Next up: Edinburgh and London.

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