At the end of the third song of tonight’s British Sea Power set, guitarist Noble hoisted the band’s WWII air-raid siren over this head and then pounded it into the stage. So early in the evening’s proceedings, this was a great bit of edgy stage drama as well as an impressive feat of physical strength (it’s three foot high and solid iron).
During the support acts, I wasn’t convinced this evening would hold any such surprises or drama. The set-up at The Masque (ex-Barfly) appeared at first to be cheap-and-nasty nondescript indie dive with accompanying harsh sound. However the room had both character and it turned out decent sound. The Masque appears to be the relics of a Victorian music hall – a high-ceilinged black square auditorium with deep wooden steps on three sides providing good sightlines all around.
This gig was part of Liverpool Sound City so the crowd was an odd mix of fans, delegates and the curious it seemed. The aforementioned stage-pounding didn’t provoke any real crowd reaction or interaction – the overall atmosphere was more friendly and supportive than fervid and animated. But that crisp sound meant I got to hear the new songs much more clearly – more so than at the dire MoHo Live. So ‘Pyrex’ now sounds less like a 1980 Fall b-side but still a great rowdy call-and-response affair. ‘RNF’ hasn’t revealed its charms yet fully but the lengthy, multi-part ‘Zeus’ definitely came across well – but still ‘odd’ rather than ‘majestic’ in my book.
The final song (no encore here) was a spritely ‘The Spirit of St Louis’ with Noble playing guitar atop one of the tall speaker cabinets whilst singer Yan did hand-stands. Eccentricity to be treasured whilst we await a release date for the album or for future tour dates to hear the new material again.
The Set List:
Lights Out For Darker Skies
Apologies To Insect Life
Down on the Ground
Please Stand Up
The Great Skua
Fear of Drowning
The Spirit of St Louis