Thursday, September 14, 2006

British Sea Power

I saw British Sea Power once before. It was Reading 2003 and I'd just seen the Yeah Yeah Yeahs play second top of the bill on the NME stage. YYYs drummer, Brian Chase, told me later that was one of only two shows where they'd just come off stage and wanted to cry. For me it was the first time I saw them and though it was chaotic, detached, squashed and sweaty, I thought it was amazing. I had no desire to see Metallica or the Music, so wandered into the Carling Tent and British Sea Power were there with foliage on the stage, a big cult following and tunes that swept me away and had me grinning all thee way back to the campsite.

Three years later and I saw them again, this time playing the Camden Barfly (where The Low Miffs are playing FRIDAY 15TH!), a crazily small venue for a band with as large and dedicated a following as British Sea Power. I was only there because my boyfriend is a superfan and I thought it had the potential to be a memorable gig. Memorable it was. The merch desk was not your average £18 over-sized fruit of the loom T-shirts, no way. Staffed by a tall woman wearing an early 20th century bathing suit and swim cap, it sold soaps and hair wax (named Brilliantine Mortality after a lyric in one of their songs). Biscuits were also on offer. How excellent. The band played an exhilerating set with hits off their albums The Decline of British Sea Power and Open Season, rare B-sides and some new songs. I was amazed at their intensity and, dare I say, eccentricity. Singer, Yan, wore a black tunic and white trousers with gold trim at the bottom, looking somewhere between a pashmina'd out gap-year student and a crazed Monk. On the right was Noble, who took to the stage in thick winter socks and a frilly shirt, a strange and electric connection present between them both for the whole set. The set concluded in an insane meltdown, guitars were flying, bodies were flying, one of the support band's players took to the stage in a cape and played his trumpet. There was total chaos.

The crowd were ecstatic and jumped around more than at any other gig I've been to recently. It's sometimes strange going to see a band and everyone else is a bigger fan than you, but it really helps to understand that passion and I'm sure I'll be doing a lot more listening to BSP in the coming months. Photos coming soon.

posted by Robbie de Santos at 9/14/2006 05:50:00 pm


Anonymous ssp said...

BSP are amazing live. Weird and amazing perhaps, but a great joy to see!

They happily bombarded us with tulip bulbs when we saw them last year...

Blogger elizabeth said...

Why aren't British Sea Power my favourite band already?

i am ignorant.


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