British Sea Power, Forum, London
Thursday 10 March 2011
The stage is filled with amps, microphones, musical instruments and trees. An old film is rolling in the background, the members of British Sea Power getting off a train, mumbling something indecipherable and walking off screen. Moments later, the Brighton six-piece emerge, utter a brief "hello" and launch straight into their set, their barrier-hugging acolytes' screams of excitement matching the band's first tracks decibel for decibel.
Opening with "Who's in Control" and "We Are Sound", the first two songs from their latest album, Valhalla Dancehall, BSP set the tone for their entire show. The former, a pounding, percussive rocker, gets the crowd riled up, while the latter is slightly more relaxed, led by a guitar riff reminiscent of The Cure. This combination of the intense and the intimate is what defines the show, as the group alternately entice and energise their audience. Yet these same transitions also make the gig somewhat exasperating and uneven.
With the lo-fi charms of "Fear of Drowning" and "Remember Me", the band seem like a Nineties throwback, channeling groups like Pavement, but despite what they would have us believe, British Sea Power really excel at creating alternative pop. The contemplative "Blackout" is wonderful, and the call-and-response chorus of "Living Is So Easy" is brilliantly received.
However, BSP spend a long time exhibiting their edgier wares, and overly frantic renditions of "Apologies to Insect Life" and "Spirit of St. Louis" make it seem like the band are not alternative by accident: their inscrutable image feels contrived, not imbued with the inherent eccentricity of Arcade Fire or The Pixies.
For the large contingent of devotees, the gig is near-perfect, but for the outsiders, the time spent outside the more nuanced, accessible numbers is time wasted, and thus the show is unlikely to turn them from fans into fully-fledged converts.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Poldark star Heida Reed says show is not that racy: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
Glastonbury 2015: Coldplay will not headline but Florence Welch might play, says Emily Eavis
Kanye West drops 'All Day', music video to come from Steve McQueen
Game of Thrones season 5 spoilers: What we can expect according to George RR Martin's books
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut