A bright and haunted age

British Sea Power / Film School
Jacksonville Jack Rabbits
April 19, 2008

"Come on, allons-y, let's go"

Somethings never change. It's been six years since I last saw British Sea Power, and they still look more like an expedition than a rock band. Hamilton's shirt was ripped so much it looked like he'd been to the Arctic Circle and back this very day. Now, though, they're augmented by a viola player (whose look owes a lot to the Lady of Shalott) and a keyboardist who didn't get knocked unconscious which was a plus.

"There's things that we all need to navigate"

Somethings do change. In 2002, I was terrified by the brothers' Demon Headmaster stare. Now, because they have a more polished new record out, they're a little more comfortable on stage. Still very little onstage chitchat, although at one point Noble mentioned Bill and Ben, which was cute. Primary impression of the gig: British Sea Power really fucking rock. I guess the album title is a hint, but oh my. I was surprised at how heavy they were, maybe because I still think of them as the awkward weirdos they were when they first started. BSP in 2008 are polished, seamless and loud as aw'hell. 'Canvey Island' lost a bit, I thought, under walls of guitars.

Some have criticized them for not being as spastic and mental as the olden days, but you can't expect a band to be young men forever. I would've liked to have seen 'Reme
mber Me' in there, though.

Lakes are forming on the pockets of your brain"

Highlights? 'Atom' and its shouts of "I just don't get it!" (a common reaction to molecular physics) was thankfully stripped of its extra intro. Viola and trumpet being heard above the racket for 'The Great Skua'. The double whammy of my two fave BSP songs, 'True Adventures' and 'No Lucifer' was pretty great. They finished, as is their way, with a 30 minute+ freakout that most of the audience left during, and was really loud, and saw Noble come into the crowd, and some gymnastics, and various guests, and lots of fingers-in-ears. It was okay, but clearly looked more fun for the band than for the crowd.

lights out for darker skies / atom / oh larsen b / down on the ground / how will i ever find my way home? / waving flags / the great skua / spirit of st louis / a trip out / canvey island / true adventures / no lucifer /
carrion / a rock in

Earlier, San Francisco's Film School played a very impressive set that made me wish I'd noticed their album 'Hideout' last year. Lots of reverb, heavy MBV influence, nice tempo shifts, an attractive bass player (named Lorelei? really?) and a guitar player with a sense for showmanship. I don't know how much this would necessarily be captured when listening to their CD, but if you get a chance, go and see them play live.

Worth making a 150 mile round trip for, the weekend before law school finals start? Fuck yeah!

[download British Sea Power - True Adventures]

[British Sea Power - official / myspace]
[Film School - official / myspace]


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