Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Memories of 2018 gigs #1

British Sea Power
Support: American Mustard
The Globe, Cardiff - 11th February 2018

I doubt there will be quite as many gigs this year as, for reasons I may explain at a later date, we're having to watch our pennies a bit. Prior to tightening our belts, we had already booked tickets for three shows this year and this was the first of them. And what a way to start!

Although I was a little puzzled at the choice of support for the evening. American Mustard are a four-piece rhythm and blues band from Cardiff. They've probably played every pub in the city and gone down a storm. But this isn't pub rock like Dr. Feelgood or even the Blues Brothers. Basically, if you can imagine any movie in the 80s that had a bar scene in it and a band was playing - American Mustard could have been that band. Pub rock lite. They were musically tight and highly competent, but also highly unoriginal and certainly not the sort of band I would have expected to open this show.

I came to British Sea Power rather late, always being aware of them but not actually taking much of their music in until their third album, 2008's 'Do You Like Rock Music?' Since then I've loved pretty much everything they've done. Maybe I'm in a minority, but I prefer their more recent work to the first couple of albums. So tonight's set containing plenty of songs from the last three records is no bad thing.

Bad Bohemian, Keep On Trying, What You're Doing, Praise For Whatever, The Voice Of Ivy Lee and Saint Jerome, all from last year's 'Let The Dancers Inherit The Party', were interspersed with songs that spanned the band's back catalogue. Early classics like Remember Me, It Ended On An Oily Stage and The Spirit Of St. Louis, were, predicatably, very well received. But Machineries Of Joy and Who's In Control were equally brilliant to these ears.

Of course, the dancing bears made an appearance. It's amazing - on the stage you have one of the best live bands in the country playing a blinder, yet for several songs, most people seemed to forget the band was even there, just seemingly wanting to touch, hug or watch a couple of people wearing giant bear costumes dancing in the crowd. Good fun, maybe - but a real distraction.

The de facto closing brace to the main set - Waving Flags and The Great Skua - was utterly majestic as ever and rendered an encore unnecessary, but they played one anyway. On a stage festooned with their trademark foliage, a stuffed owl and a plastic heron, British Sea Power lit up and warmed a bitterly cold February Sunday as I knew they would. OK, so they didn't play my favourite song off the new album (International Space Station) but any criticism of that nature seems petty. It was a show that blew away the cobwebs of the winter hiatus. Shame now that I'm back in the mood I have to wait 'til June for the next show...

Here's a couple of recent live clips, starting with something from the latest album 'Let The Dancers Inherit The Party'...

And here's the regular set closures, both from 'Do You Like Rock Music?'. This is from a set in Glasgow last year for the BBC. Absolutely stunning!


  1. If you watch the video to Monsters of Sunderland then at around two minutes in that's a certain Timothy J Badger in the hat.

  2. Truly wonderful band...on record and on stage. They're in Glasgow this coming Saturday night. I'm trying to shuffle things around so that I can make it along.

  3. I'm going to see them in Brighton on TUESDAY –  I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen them – they never disappoint – International Space Station is also my favourite off the new album – but I guess I'll be (a little) disappointed if the don't play it!

  4. They never played International space Station. But they were still brilliant – although my daughter hated every single minute of it – she thinks they are a dad's band.

    1. Ha! No rappers or no soulless electronics, probably. Kids today, eh? Glad you enjoyed them though.