There is nothing more British than the wilful eccentric.
Watching the band encore with a dancing bear, a wailing air raid siren and men crowd-surfing in aviation masks, it seems there are few bands more ‘of their place’ than British Sea Power.
Having shot to, well, if not fame then definitely a form of polite recognition with the Mercury nominated ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ the band are currently powering (geddit?) their way through one of their biggest UK tours to date. Taking to a stage surrounded by wooden owls and genuine foliage, it was clear from the off that this was no ordinary rock show.
Keen to demonstrate that they have, in fact, been around longer than the Mercury shortlist, British Sea Power open with a number of early tracks – singles such as ‘Carrion’ have their scratchy indie sound reborn as a passionate wailing wall of noise. While fiercely intelligent on record, it is only in the live arena that the sheer passion and energy of the band becomes obvious.
Songs from the much-heralded ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ cause the audience to erupt. With its near stadium level opening riff channelling the spirit of Pixies through U2, ‘A Trip Out’ is tailor made for the larger venues the band suddenly find themselves in. Climaxing with ‘No Lucifer’ and its terrace chant of “easy, easy”, British Sea Power seem entirely comfortable with their new position.
Ending with white noise, a screaming siren and a dancing bear, British Sea Power are keen to have their cake and eat it. They combine mainstream recognition with challenging music while still obeying the rules of the classic rock show. But of course, they don’t like to shout about it –and what could be more British than that?
Photography: Keri Fullwood