Friday, 4 December 2015

Memories of a thousand* gigs #47

(* probably not actually that many, but who’s counting?)
#47: British Sea Power
The Coal Exchange, Cardiff - 14th April 2013
Support: Milk And Biscuits
Also present: Pete & Neil

One of only a handful of gigs in recent memory that MrsRobster hasn't accompanied me at. In fact, this wasn't even a show I had planned to go to. Two days beforehand, my colleague Pete let me know he had a spare ticket and was I interested. He only had one. Dilemma. MrsRobster was very understanding however, and for the small price of a couple of back rubs and a week or so of complete subservience, I was allowed to go out without her. Love 'er.

I'd never seen British Sea Power before, and neither had I been to a gig with Pete or our fellow colleague Neil. The three of us are part of our core group who play football a couple nights a week, but this remains the only time I have engaged in my other passion with the guys. It was also the first (and only) time I'd been to Cardiff's Coal Exchange, a wonderful building that sadly has closed for renovations and may never host another gig again. This was, I believe, its last.

Support act Milk And Biscuits were a rather whimsical folk act with a hint of psychedelia about them. They didn't do a lot for me, it has to be said, but they were a bit different and that's never a bad thing. Of course, they were supporting one of the UK's best live bands so it was no mean task. BSP have been making wonderful music for more than a decade now and I reckon they're getting better with age. Their recent studio albums (soundtracks aside) have been top notch, and there were plenty of songs from the then-current LP 'Machineries Of Joy'.

British Sea Power have always sounded great on record, but live they really shine. Visually they always make and effort; the stage was festooned in the band's trademark foliage and fairy lights. They also sounded as grand as the setting. Machineries Of Joy made for a magnificent, slow-burning opener; Loving Animals, Monsters of Sunderland and K-Hole (all from that current record) also stood out among the new songs. During Waving Flags, a nine-foot polar bear appeared on the balcony waving the Welsh flag, and a few songs later (s)he appeared in the crowd with an equally tall brown bear, dancing with audience members.

Among the old faves aired were Carrion, Remember Me, Please Stand Up and A Lovely Day Tomorrow, all of which were splendid and joyous. Pete and Neil were as transfixed throughout as I was. I suspected BSP would be a good band to watch, so it's a bit of a mystery as to why I didn't plan to go in the first place. I'm glad I did though.


1 comment:

  1. "British Sea Power have always sounded great on record, but live they really shine."

    Yup. One of the best.