Wednesday, 27 January 2010

619 BRITISH SEA POWER, The Killers, Reading Fez Club, Wednesday 26 November 2003

Two in two for the rejuvenated Alleycat Live venue - this time a slow gig week prompted Rachel and myself to take a late call and check out an intriguing young British band who'd grown on us of late, after having picked up their debut CD. So we hit the venue at 8.30, taking a wrong turn at the Hexagon thanks to a looming artic, but recovering and losing little time.

Opening act The Killers were really hard on the ears; a shame as there were a couple of good songs underneath all the guitar noise and keyboard glare, but it seemed as if the band were having a "Who Can Play Their Instrument The Loudest" competition, consequently burying their occasionally Pulp-like, occasionally Interpol-like kitchen sink drama-esque songs.

Tried to take a good viewing position stage-right, but found ourselves confounded by tall people at every turn. Eventually got a better spot stage-left, still not free of 6-footers but at least not crowded. Surprised that this Wednesday gig was probably 3 times as popular as Stellastarr*'s gig here last Saturday night!

The set was bedecked with tree branches and swathed with dry ice for the entrance of British Sea Power, who came onstage to the sound of Gregorian chanting. Now where have I heard that before? BSP's debt to Echo And The Bunnymen also stretches to pseudo camo get-up, wild-eyed angular rhythms and choppy guitar riffs, also slow-burning moody melody. Unlike fellow copyists the Coral, however, they add their own flip to the mix; the WW2 bomber noises, Pathe newsreels and songs about insects and bird-watching cultivate an austere, 50's English eccentric image. Musically, they're improving and making the most of slightly limited material - I even liked the songs I'd dismissed as blatant "Crocodiles" rip-offs last time! Vocalist Yan is also developing a good nervous energy persona onstage. We left midway through the encore, but were glad we came, to see a band with some definite promise developing nicely!

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