Wednesday, 16 December 2009

688 BRITISH SEA POWER, Electric Soft Parade, British Sea Power (erm...), Oxford Brookes University, Saturday 26 November 2005

A horrible journey down made me wish I'd tried harder to persuade Rachel to go to the Monday night Bierkeller gig instead. The AA directions sent us round the ring-road to get us to the Point Roundabout (which we bloody well know how to get to anyway, and a damn sight quicker than that!), then we totally lost our way after that. It did turn out ultimately to be easier than expected - first turning off the aforementioned roundabout, then straight up the hill and it's on the left!

The venue hadn't got their shit together booking in the e-tickets either, so after an unnecessary queue, we hit the venue just after British Sea Power had come onstage for their opening set. An interesting concept, which garnered a lot of interest from the already busy crowd; they played a low-key opening set of mostly obscure stuff, which was fairly innocuous really apart from the closing track, which sped up and slowed down a few times! Intriguing.

Electric Soft Parade were next up; now in reduced circumstances following the end of their major label deal, but still demonstrating a good ear for a simple melodic pop tune, evidenced by a number of new choons from an EP we picked up at the gig. "Silent To The Dark", their finest moment, was hurried, unfortunately, losing its' lush harmonic charm in the process. Nevertheless, there's still life in ESP yet!

Tried to get a good view in this appalling eyeline venue, ending up stage right for BSP, on at 9.40. The BSP massive, replete with branches and leaves as usual, welcomed the Gregorian chanting preceding their entrance. They've now added more structure to their Bunnymen-esque choppy rhythms and atmosphere, and their best new number, "It Ended On An Oily Stage", kicked off this fine set. "Remember Me", the choppy, frantic number covered by none other than the Wurzels (!) on a split 7" we also picked up here, followed, vocalist Yan making up for his vocal deficiencies with a fine, nervous energy-fuelled performance. Now evolved into more than just the sum of their obvious influences, BSP are now a more reliable act, and this set, whilst a little overlong, highlighted their improved tunesmithery. Good stuff - almost making up for the nightmare journey, horrible venue, e-ticket-mare, ignorant crowd, etc. etc...

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