Without igniting a war amongst all my friends – I will just start with saying that I think something was missing that night. Most of my friends kept asking me about foliage and honestly, I may be the last person on earth who had never seen British Sea Power until Monday night. Perhaps I was seeing the Decline of British Sea Power. (Oh such a bad pun!).
So lets just get on with it and tell it like it is. First off the sound at Maxwell’s (which is not the bands fault) was piss-poor. And that is being generous. It was so loud that even with ear plugs in – by the end of the night my ears were still ringing. This also contributed to the fact that Yan’s vocals were probably just not as crisp as they could have been. But the major problem I have with BSP is the fact that the band (Noble – who could barely look into the crowd – except while taking a swig of beer, Hamilton – who I think sounds incredible on vocals and Wood on drums – sporting a one-piece jumpsuit and working it!) seemed so disengaged. Perhaps this is why people like them, but I had been hearing about these crazy shows – guys having foliage in their hair, on the stage. Instead I got a group of dapper guys who uttered few words to the crowd, and while playing barely seemed to notice us in front of them. Playing their hearts out - I think not!
To their credit – I do realize this was the first night of their tour and they werent even using their own instruments. I do wish I was seeing them again because I really believe their music and live shows are probably that great.
Here is why you should see them: Carrion (one of their singles) sounds incredible live and is easy to really get into; Spirit of St. Louis also sounded especially good and was very catchy. The 2nd half of their set is the emphasis on why people should see them (from Carrion to the end – see set list below). I feel if they had put that much energy into the entire set – I’d have been easily pleased even with ringing ears. It was also nice not having the encore which everyone seems to expect these days. Is this normal for Yan and company? I have no clue – but I could do without encores.
Here is the setlist from Monday night:
Remember Me (I LOVED this song)
Down on the Ground
Spirit of St. Louis
Fear of Drowning
Lights Out F.D.S.
Jet Lag Jimmy Jam
And where to begin with the opener – Stardeath and White Dwarfs. The lead singer comes out in a costume of sorts – that is a green bodysuit/jumpsuit, open at the top with a star shirt on underneath. Barefoot naturally. The other guys look ‘normal’. I am guessing he is Stardeath. Their music – best described as experimental – a mixture of vocals over *very* loud sounds from knobs turning (yes there’s a name for the instrument – and I was told Octopus Project made better use of it). Experimental is one of those things where either people get it or dont. I am not sure I entirely get it but I have seen bands that do it better is what it comes down to. The vocals were weak at best and the lead singer just didnt have that great of a singing voice. Their light show (at least at Maxwells) is definitely hard if you’re too close. I could barely look at the stage because I had all these lights going on and off and felt blinded for half the night. Perhaps I was already deaf before BSP came on the stage.
One interesting thing of note is that Dennis Coyne is related to one Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. Perhaps I am entirely wrong on this band and they will become the next Flaming Lips. How about you decide?