British Sea Power is such a band.
I was lucky enough to get to see them again recently, at Rough Trade’s showcase night at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, one of the most pleasant venues I know.
Showcase nights like these I always find interesting. They give people a chance to find out some new bands, rediscover others, or maybe just try a different type of music for a change, only to find out they actually like it. It’s sometimes even a chance to see lots of great, upcoming, young and new bands on a relatively cheap ticket.
So… British Sea Power then. I had heard of them a while ago, and when they were on the bill of London Calling, another showcase, I decided to check them out. I came in “blank”, as I often do, not knowing any of their stuff, sounds, or background, merely going by their name and reputation.
I was not disappointed.
Nevertheless, they ended up on my never ending stack of “must check out” bands, and I never really followed up on that. As a result, I still didn’t really know any of their stuff when the Rough Trade night announced itself. I shouldn’t have worried. They came, saw and conquered, while others in the audience (especially the excitedly drunk group of English British Sea Power fans next to me), conquered, saw and came.
It starts even before it begins. Throw in a stage, a drum kit, a couple of guitars a handful of stuffed birds and foliage and you have a modest British Sea Power stage set up. Then throw in a young male band, even more guitars, a couple of army uniforms, cricket boy appearance, and you kind of end up with a band that looks to be drawn straight from boy scout ranks.
Their sound is rocky, straight from the bat, which woke up the audience with a start that evening. Not so sure if it ever went to sleep again, unless, maybe, after the Delays took to the stage after them.
To sum it all up, British Sea Power are a refreshing, young band, which should probably appeal to people who also take a liking to, say, Franz Ferdinand and Joy Division, with a dash of Bowie and a sprinkling of Pixies around the rim. They have an interesting stage show, which definitely deserves checking out.
As a very special treat, Fab Channel put up a stream of their performance that night. You can find it (and more goodies) on their site (free subscription required).
Now, of course, the only wait is for their new album, and new dates. In the meantime, I’ll take them off my “must check out” list, and buy their 2003 album “The Decline of British Sea Power”.
And so should you: