British Sea Power
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- The Rockhouse, Derby »
Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing British Sea Power in the flesh before should be quite familiar with the fact that every show is more of an event rather than your average run-of-the-mill gig. The kind of spectacle where structure tends to leap out the backstairs window the minute the band walk onstage and any semblance of a setlist is nothing more than just a timekeeping guide rather than a diligent exercise in rigidly adhering to formats. On the surface, this evening didn't appear to be any different; the band's scheduled stage time having been billed as 90 minutes but with an extra hour allotted until midnight in the event of one of their experimental urges suddenly taking hold, we're surely in for a treat, right?
Well yes and no to be perfectly honest. With tonight's show being hastily arranged as a bedding in process for new band members (cornet/keyboardist Phil Sumner and viola player Abi Fry) rather than new material, there are moments that tentatively feel like being present at a rehearsal rather than a concert. Songs are dispatched in a clinical, albeit faultless manner with the setlist itself reading like a marriage of the band's early singles and most memorable segments of last year's 'Do You Like Rock Music' long player. Admittedly the added instrumentation has a gargantuan effect on the likes of 'How Will I Ever Find My Way Home' and 'Carrion', while old b-side 'A Lovely Day Tomorrow' is audaciously revamped into a deceptively buoyant doppelganger for The Cure's 'Friday I'm In Love'.
And so the "hits" continue to our out; indeed, for many tonight's repertoire could be many BSP devotee's dream setlist, and yet something seems to be missing this evening. Whereas previous shows have seen a more playful invitation from the band to encourage audience participation or even become part of the throng themselves, British Sea Power choose to keep their distance this evening, between song banter or even introductions kept to a minimum bar Yan Scott Wilkinson announcing the closing 'Wooden Horse' as "a song about The Addams Family".
Maybe it's down to the fact we've been spoiled rotten at British Sea Power shows in the past so expectations have reached a ridiculously high level, or perhaps, with their much-anticipated film soundtrack recording well under way, they just want to revert to being a normal band like everybody else. Whatever their reasons for tonight's slightly (by their standards at least) underwhelming performance, there's no need to get downhearted just yet as past history has proved they're just as capable of re-igniting their creative spark at any moment, usually when least expected.
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