British Sea Power - Live

By erin

British Sea Power, February 23, Richards on Richards

If you're going to play minutes and minutes of feedback wanking, at least throw random pieces of bush and bracken into the audience, or at your drummer.

Kaito opened, but I only saw three songs. Very Kill Rock Stars, but at the talented end of the scale I would say. Some skilled vocal harmonies going on, interesting use of voices that made it me curious to watch them. A heard a lot of grumbling in the audience afterwards though - much talk of chick rock. Meh. Not worth my time to comment on that.

British Sea Power live was much like their album - rocking in parts, but you're left wanting to hit the next button a little too often. Too many weird power ballads for my liking. They went through every song on the album out of order, the usual kind of show for a band touring only one album. They looked like they may pass out with exhaustion - and their performance was admirable for being that tour-worn. In fact, I liked them live better than their recorded songs. My favourites from the album like 'Carrion', 'Blackout' and 'Apologies to Insect Life' were excellent live, even better than expected. Well, 'Blackout' was muddy, probably due to a switch to acoustic guitar that wasn't well amplified. Except for the long wait while the shrubbery was placed on stage, the few slow spots and the occasional David Byrne impressions by the lead vocialist, they were fun to see.

Everything changed for the last three songs. It's like whatever drugs they were taking all of a sudden kicked in, but it really looked like that moment where you've had your 284th wind and you may be going clinically insane but you decide to climb the back of the stage area and stand there looking stunned and wave your arms around. The shrubbery went flying into the audience, and one guy wandered the crowd with a single snare drum and a helmet. He looked like a nutcase - and earlier in the night he informed us he's actually from Northern BC and his family was there watching. I watched him wander up to the upper balcony, only to come down without his drum stick, so he was reduced to smacking the drum with his bare hand. Punk!

By the end of the feedback destruction session, almost all the shrubbery was on the floor, and we'd had to watch various band members get up on very high places and jump down, and at one point the guitar player climbed on the bassist's shoulders and kept playing. I was waiting for some serious injury - but we were spared. After my friend's story about one of them falling out of a tree and breaking his wrist, I didn't have high hopes for their acrobatic skills.

It was too bad they got stuck in a Monday slot here, the crowd was definitely winding down before the band was really finished. I don't think I'd go out of my way to see them again.