British Sea Power at Cedar Cultural Center, 3/29/11
British Sea Power
March 29, 2011
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
British Sea Power have a catalog that spans from sweeping and epic to explosive and driving--the power to crush both skulls and hearts. But there's no disconnect when they switch gears, and that's the appeal: everything they touch turns into BSP. The sound is cohesive even though the songs don't all sound alike.
The Cedar Cultural Center was a slightly odd venue for them to play a show (it would have worked better at the 7th St. Entry, maybe), which is maybe even more confusing because for the most part BSP seems like they'd be most at home in a venue like Wembley Arena. These points of conjecture are of little consequence, however. Roughly 150 people were treated to a show that was overall a stellar one. Opening with "Who's In Control?," the first track on their new album, Valhalla Dancehall, the night started with a growl but slowly built to a grinding howl by the time they dug into "Remember Me" from their much-lauded debut, The Decline of British Sea Power. Eight years later that song still peels the paint off the walls, and "Blackout" from the same album still makes you want to sit in a corner and shed a tear or two while you contemplate your life and the choices you've made.
The range of emotions the crowd was invited to face during the course of the show was stunning. Add to that the fact that many of BSP's lyrics consist of simple "oh"s, "ahhh"s and "hey"s and confusion got thrown into the hopper, as well. How does a band make you think about both old, long-since-finished relationships and cause you to decide to take over the world over the course of just a few minutes and in such a simplistic fashion? Are those relationships only dormant? Can people solve problems they may not even fully understand?
After wrapping up the proper set with "Lights Out For Darker Skies" from what has proved thus-far to be their masterwork, Do You Like Rock Music?, they began their much-deserved, four-song encore with "Waving Flags," an epic rock song if there ever was one. They followed with the contemplative, instrumental "The Great Skua" and ended with a fairly subdued version of "Carrion" that slowly bled into "All In It." Though they'd played for a long while (60+ minutes), it seemed not nearly long enough, but that's always the rub with bands like British Sea Power; it's never enough, we'd all like to be able to feel like that just a little bit longer.
Photos by Tony Nelson
Critic's Bias: British Sea Power is one of the few bands I have latched hard onto in the last decade. I may not ever let go.
The Crowd: Respectful yet a bit boisterous. I think we were all a bit let down that more people didn't come to the show and overcompensated by cheering loudly between each song.
Overheard In The Crowd: "This new black Keds on dudes trend is the worst thing ever. They make guys' feet look ridiculous."
Random Notebook Dump: The addition of the violinist (Abi Fry) on tour was a great decison.
Who's In Control
We Are Sound
Oh Larsen B
Once More Now
Living Is So Easy
The Spirit of St. Louis
It Ended on an Oily Stage
Lights Out for Darker Skies
Waving Flags (encore)
The Great Skua (encore)
All In It (encore)
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