British Sea PowerEdit this event
- Rock City, Nottingham »
With the venue changing at the 11th hour and stage times coinciding with most boozers' happy hours to accommodate the regular 70s cheese club night, this had all the hallmarks of being a disaster waiting to happen.
Thankfully, no one told British Sea Power or The Research, as both quite frankly gave the performances of their lives. With rumours rife that a Brian Clough impersonator would be taking the stage at some point - sadly not to be - and one or two BSP diehards around me deliberating whether or not the band's opening set would see them disappear up their own rectile passages in a flurry of elongated krautrock solos, what came next wasn't just a pleasant surprise, but the opening salvo of what could easily be described as the setlist from heaven.
Billed as a "B-sides and rarities" set, British Sea Power stuck to the job in hand by delivering the likes of 'A Lovely Day Tomorrow' and 2 Tone tinged eccentricity of 'Fakir' with a passion and energy that most bands reserve for their most recognisable moments. Indeed, the way Yan and Hamilton swapped centre stage and power chords between songs was a joy to behold, something that only the most accomplished and self-believing artists could ever wish to achieve.
Squeezed in between this and BSP's finale were The Research, a band described rather lamely by some as being "twee" and led by a singing keyboard player named Russell (The Disaster). Recalling such luminaries as Beat Happening!, The B-52s and a less chirpy Chalets, The Research played a set that consists of perfect pop with a hint of bittersweet couplets that reduce the saccharine levels to a diabetic safety zone. 'She's Not Leaving' and 'The Way You Used To Smile' would be number one in any self-respecting tune lover's universe, while the delightful 'I Love You...But', with it's insatiable chorus of "I love you but I'm scared of fucking up" has to be the most plausible way of letting someone down...gently. Simply irresistable.
And then it's back to the job in hand, as the familiar tones of 'It Ended On An Oily Stage' herald the second part of what precisely one hour later, several people were heard to remark as being "THE setlist from heaven!" If you were selecting the latest tracklist for your iPod, chances are 'Remember Me', 'Apologies To Insect Life' and 'Blackout' would all be in there. At the start. Just like here. Because as a communal gathering, nothing beats the intimacy of a British Sea Power show, regardless of the setting, and when Yan invites all and sundry onto the stage at the end of 'Lately' for a chaotically improvised 'Rock In A' that culminates in Noble atop the speaker stack swigging from a bottle of Stella to instruments and pieces of woodland vegitation passing back and forth through the venue, the feeling of satisfaction normally gained from watching something as ordinary as a good show is quickly transcended into one of honour at having witnessed what in time will be noted as a remarkable event. Gig of the year? Quite possibly.
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