Thursday, October 02, 2003

Went to see British Sea Power and the Tenderfoot last night with Vic, Pete, Anne-So and Sam. The Old Market in Hove is a nice venue; somehow reminiscent of a school hall, but with a nice sound and a good atmosphere. The Tenderfoot sounded lovely; they're a very delicate band, very deliberate and precise with faint, pretty tunes and a good line in between-song banter. All the same, they lacked muscle; they reminded me of Tindersticks, a group that never really took their sound anywhere, just down a blind alley - but all the same, you won't hear a better song this year than 'Still Holding My Stomach In'.

BSP, on the other hand, are all taut aggression and drama. Opening with footage from David Lean's 'Great Expectations' and playing an album-heavy set to a lively reception, they were good but short of convincing; the odd song - Lately, and Carrion, particularly - sounded superb, and welded the two extremes of their style (early 80s gloom-rock and sub-N.O.U chaos) well; at other times they were self-indulgent and dull. When I last saw them I didn't know any of the songs and they seemed bright and chaotic - seeing them playing the songs I now know I felt disappointed that they weren't as eccentric as I first thought.

Towards the end of Lately, however, when they dispensed with caution and launched themselves up a gear, they mimicked Pavement's glorious 'Filmore Jive' so accurately that they were briefly transformed. And - conversely - at one point during the flabby encore the singer's 'It's time to get some sleep' refrain echoed the same song's gorgeous 'I need to sleep - why won't you let me?'. But by that point they'd been playing the same two songs relentlessly for the best part of an hour, and it was a question I felt like asking too.

But there's something about them that is endearing; maybe just the fact that they are doing something different, and as a visual spectacle they're still brilliant. It was a good evening - Vic even bought me a t-shirt, which is really nice. It says 'Bravery Already Exists'. Hmm. I suppose it's fairly brave to play a 15 minute instrumental coda at the end of your encore...

2 comments:

jonathan said...

ugh, I'm so stupid, I completely deleted half of this post a minute ago and had to go scrabbling round for cached pages on google to replace the text. should be back to normal now...

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