Review of British Sea Power live at Nottingham Rescue Rooms on Thursday 10th February 2011

It speaks volumes of British Sea Powers almost unique position in the current British music climate that they can be labelled as a 'cult' and 'criminally ignored' band and effortlessly reach the Top 40 Album Charts and sell out 500+ capacity venues at the same time. 'Unique' itself is a term that's easy to tag onto the band, one who marry up indie-pop sensibilities, walls of noise and subject matter ranging from world war naval bases to British wrestling references, but for all their idiosyncrasies and eccentricities, not to mention a range of merchandise that offers not only the typical t-shirts and tote bags but mugs and sweets, it is the sheer consistency and quality of the bands five preceding albums, and numerous EPS/singles, that has gained the southern sextet such a following.

British Sea Power

A following that makes for an uncomfortably full venue. Part of the reason may be that, unlike the majority of shows held at Nottingham's Rescue Rooms, the audience actually react to the band on-stage, all flailing limbs, bad dance moves and demi-mosh pits. Admittedly it's hard not to react in some fashion; the band are their typically brilliant selves, turning each song into a veritable whirlwind and unleashing should-be hit after should-be hit.

The opening and closing moments hold the main highlights, with the opening couplet of 'Who's In Control' and 'Remember Me' offering razor-sharp re-enactments of two of the bands most euphoric moments. At the close of the set the band work debút full-length highlight 'Carrion' into 'All In It' to great effect, with both tracks played with much more velocity than on record. Which is not to say there is a mid-set lull, as selections from recent full-length 'Valhalla Dancefloor' and a surprise run out of 'Apologies To Insect Life' keep the momentum going throughout.

Pitchfork dropped a bollock by 'hilariously' giving a previous British Sea Power album a score of 'U.2', but whilst you could see one of The Edge's less masturbatory guitar riffs at a squint the band sit at a refreshing right angle to any of their peers. Broken Social Scene and Modest Mouse may at times be kinsmen, if only in the overriding, driving sense of euphoria in their music, but even these comparisons come at a stretch, and, at least live, British Sea Power truly stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Jordan Dowling

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