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British Sea Power at The Independent 4/30/05

British Sea PowerSetlist (what wasn’t written on the list):

It Ended On A(n) Oily Stage
Remember Me
Scottish Wildlife (Experience)
Please Stand Up
North Hanging Rock
Apologies To Insect Life
Spirit of St. Louis
Fear of Drowning
Childhood Memories
(Favours in the) Beetroot Fields
Leaving Here (How Will I Ever Find My Way Home?)
(Oh) Larsen B
Lately/A Rock (In A)

There’s good reason that the UK press has named Brighton-based the “Best Live Band in Britain.” They are always sure to entertain with an impressive combination of distinctive lyrics, powerfully well played music from their latest album “Open Season” and debut “The Decline of British Sea Power,” and entertainingly original  stage antics. The band is composed of Yan on vocals and guitar, dressed in white pajamas with a red scarf around his calf; Noble on guitar; Hamilton (Yan’s brother) on bass and vocals, who hopped on stage with Davy Crockett-like scarf; Wood on drums, and Eamon on  keyboards and percussion. The stage set up included the usual dried foliage, a flag of the “Open Season” artwork, though no stuffed owls or herons, as they have in the past.

Yan’s deep hoarse-sounding voice constantly gets compared to Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, but the music of British Sea Power is far more uplifting and upbeat. The intricate swelling guitar work is reminiscent of Echo & the Bunnymen or the Smiths. The songs are full of memorable hooks and melodies with themes ranging from nature, literature, and history. Most of the songs are written and sung by Yan, though Hamilton takes over with his similar though less hoarse vocals and switches to acoustic guitar on “How Will I Ever Find My Way Home?” (listed on the set list as “Leaving Here”) and “Blackout.”

Some of the more unusually amusing highlights of the show were: Eamon marching through the audience while banging on a drum twice; Yan simultaneously rubbing his head and belly with a tambourine; during “Rock in A,” Noble picked up the red sash that had fallen from around Yan’s knee earlier in the night and tied it around Hamilton’s head, then did the same with Eamon and Eamon’s scarf, then tied his own jacket around his head and jumped into the crowd, then returned to the stage and stood behind Yan and put his hands over Yan’s eyes. At the end of the show, Yan screamed into all the microphones on stage, and Hamilton and Noble carried Yan off stage.

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