One of my all-time favourite bands are still creating dazzling, dizzying displays of alt.indie. The foliage was back, the pre-support set was back, but no wrestling bears? The only let down in an otherwise ace gig.
Date: April 10, 2013
Venue: Rescue Rooms
No-one can accuse British Sea Power of being a lazy band. Tonight’s shift not only includes their seminal headlining set, but before the support band Brown Brogues get to work, they’re on stage for a pre-support gig, showcasing five of their more somber numbers, of which newbies Radio Goddard and the cinematic What You Need The Most stand out.
Alt-indie oddballs BSP compel, astound and amaze in equal measures. Like no other band that currently exist, they have a unique quality that makes them hard to explain, but easy to fall in love with.
It’s good to see a once eschewed gimmick has returned. Bits of foliage adorn the stage, illuminated like homely decorations for their main set. There’s even a stag’s antlers, setting the pastoral backdrop for their cultured and learned oeuvre.
Expansive soundscapes clash with developing codas. Swelling slow burners end with climactic crescendos. Vocal duties are shared between Yan and Hamilton, as the six-piece build their sound while a backdrop of projective films adds to their mystique.
B-sides and rarities marry harmoniously with the songs from new record Machineries of Joy, while old favourites are far from ignored.
Waving Flags is sensationally anthemic. The Great Skua – a live instrumental favourite, backed by beautiful imagery of the very bird itself – is princely mesmeric, while Remember Me and Carrion end the gig in typically chaotic style. Although that said, the band’s new mascot, Bi-polar Bear, which the band usually wrestle to the ground if previous gig reviews are to be believed, was conspicuous by his absence. And this time Noble didn’t climb the bannisters of the venue’s stairs and surf back to the stage on a wave of adoring fans like he has previously.
However, these are minor gripes in an otherwise faultless display. With a cornet, keyboard and a viola adding zest to their chiming, glacial guitar riffs, BSP are tight, precise and exact. British and proud.