Last Night: British Sea Power at The Loft

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British Sea Power, A Classic Education, Colourmusic

Thursday, April 14, 2011
The Loft

Better than: being caught in a lightning storm anywhere else.

When we spoke with British Sea Power lead singer Scott "Yan" Wilkinson earlier this week, he talked about the band's lack of new fans.

"I can't really say we've got more popular," he said. "After the initial people getting to know you a bit, we've sort of held steady."

And, turns out, that much was true last night at The Loft, where British Sea Power returned to Dallas to play for the first time in three years: The crowds had thinned out since the last time the band played in town.

But the band didn't seem to notice. Despite being together for 10 years, they carried all the swagger one might expect of a cocky new band from Britain.

British Sea Power's stage presence was confident and sometimes kooky. The only props they used were a couple of scare owls that perched on top of their guitar amps. One of those would be hurled into the audience later in the show.

The sound helped; thanks to a triple-guitar lineup, it was loud and powerful, setting the tone for the night. And, after opening with cuts from their new release Valhalla Dancehall, the band was quick to oblige the audience members' requests for older songs. The set list, essentially went gradually backwards through the band's catalog. By the fourth song they had reached Open Season standout track "Oh Larsen B," and the audience, despite only numbering around 150 attendees, caused the floor to shake in response.

At this point in the night, the thunderstorm outside had made its way directly over The Loft, with the venue's wide windows showcasing the lightning and providing a nice accompaniment to a surprisingly energetic set. The sequence of "Remember Me," "It Ended On An Oily Stage," "Living Is So Easy" and "No Lucifer" whipped the crowd into a frenzy -- one that wouldn't see its release until the very end of the encore.

As the would-be last song of the night, The Decline Of British Sea Power single "Carrion," ended, the band invited members of the opening bands onto the stage for "All In It," a sort of miniature song that bookends Do You Like Rock Music? It eventually morphed into a fast paced rock 'n' roll jam session fueled by a rambunctious audience that similarly decided to rush the stage.

Soon, there were about 20 people onstage with the band. Guitarist Martin Noble convulsed violently and hilariously as he was hoisted up to the venue's rafters, and the rest of the band handed their instruments over to audience members.

The entire show built up to that moment. And, once it happened, it was clear: Small crowd or not, British Sea Power had put on another spectacular show.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: I've been a big fan of British Sea Power since I first heard them in 2003, and it's looking like Valhalla Dancehall will more than likely make it into my top 10 year-end list.

Random Note: Next time you see a show at The Loft, stop in at The Cedars Socal across the street. They got good dranks.

By The Way: Colourmusic's stage setup was comprised primarily of aluminum foil and pink masking tape. Made for a really cool visual.

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