British Sea Power

Joe Wall 10/06/2004

British Sea Power are a tough band to pin down. While their faux-formal promotional literature attracts a certain kind of interest, it seems the group seem to revel in the chaos aspect of live performance. This is demonstrated tonight in Sheffield, as the band bring an excellent set to a close with a twenty minute medley of Lately, interspersed with Rock In A and a dabble of Out Of My Mind On Dope And Speed. A normally reserved frontman, Yan leaps into the crowd in a haze of cricket trouser and brownie sash. He is soon joined by Eamon, the group's keyboard player, with a big band drum and WW1 helmet. It is an entertaining sight, and one which is egged on by the joyous crowd.

Around an hour earlier, British Sea Power entered the stage after a well received support act from fellow-Brightoners, The Duke Spirit. As the construction of a miniature woodland scene is completed (complete with plastic birds of prey and an evergreen scent), the heavenly Men Together Today welcomes the group to the stage. The set is opened with Something Wicked, a beautifully well crafted song full of electric piano. From here, the band run through almost all of The Decline of British Sea Power, their acclaimed debut album, including the rarely aired A Wooden Horse. Along with a range of b-sides, allowing the soft-voiced Hamilton to take the lead vocal position, the set reaches a high in Carrion - a song which really must be heard by every discerning music fan. From here, bedlam ensues as the final white noise of Lately come to a close.

This tour marks the end of an arduous promotional campaign for The Decline Of British Sea Power. With the follow-up now apparently completed, a short break is in order before the summer festivals. In the case of such an absence, one can only suggest: If music be the food of oddball English eccentricity, play on British Sea Power. Play on.