Tuesday, April 12, 2011

British Sea Power Plays Seattle - A Review

I went to see British Sea Power at Neumo's in Seattle on April 2. This is a band I've followed for a few years now primarily based on the strength of two singles (Carrion, Remember Me) and two albums (Do You Like Rock Music? and Vallhalla Dancehall). However, I've never seen them live. So, when I saw they were coming I jumped at the chance.

To use a cliche, I'd call British Sea Power "indie rock." But I would also say that they are not quite your run of the mill band with run of the mill indie rock songs. Lets start with the lineup. Yes, there are a couple guitars, bass and drum. But add in keyboards and a full time violin player to the mix and things start to get interesting. And their lyrics tend to be better and more thought provoking than most rock bands. "I'm a fan of the local library, I just read a book but that's another story." Or, "I wish protesting  was sexy on a Saturday night." Just a couple examples. And I would say their creative use of foliage on stage is not something I've seen before either.

Above: British Sea Power on stage in Seattle at Neumo's on April 2, 2011. Picture by Marc Osborn.

Anyway, the band came on to a 2/3 full venue and quickly hit their stride with a few of their better know tunes and graduated on to some deeper cuts and circled back to play some hits. To me, musically, this was a good show. It was loud for sure, but vocals were understandable and the music made an emotional impact.

Beyond the songs and sound, another set of things I like to use as criteria in judging a show is a band's effort, interest and interaction with the audience. British Sea Power scored nicely on effort and clearly they were delivering a heartfelt performance. So, good there. However, they were not too talkative or interactive with the audience. So, not as good on that.

You can sample one song from the gig on video HERE. The song proper starts about 1 minute into the video.

With tickets at a mere $15, this was a no brainier show to go to, and my expectations were met...not to mention again seeing a band in a small setting that would fill a large venue in the UK. So, thanks British Sea Power for visiting Seattle and putting on a quality show.

Right: More British Sea Power in Seattle. Picture by Marc Osborn.

This was a good, solid and fun show. Was it the greatest gig I've ever seen? No. But, here's the main point...it was compelling to me because it proved anew to me that fresh, interesting and authentic rock and roll is still being created and performed by artists who are 100% committed. This is something lacking in today's general music scene I think. And of course the other thing that's great about gigs like this is that you can see a quality band for cheap and up close and personal...really cool. Hey, life is about getting out there and living a little. While you can't mistake going to gigs for the most profound things in life, doing so does add spice and punctuation to your normal routine...you know, gets you out of your sleep, eat, work, kids/gym, eat, sleep regimen.

NOTE: Use of the pictures in this post is not permitted for any purpose except by prior written permission by Marc Osborn.

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