The Night I Knocked Over British Sea Power's Equipment and they Gave Me All Their Beer

Everyone's got a good concert story. Not the "I saw my favorite musician and he was AMAZING" story, but the "I didn't expect that in the slightest" story. They're the best. Those are the stories you long to hear, because they're the most unique and interesting.

Here's mine.

I had just moved to Dallas. In fact, I was still only on a tourist visa, which I was flouting considerably. I had just got engaged the week previously to the lady of my dreams, and we were planning our wedding in a month's time. I say we: I was playing computer games while she asked me futile questions about flower colours. But I digress. Suffice to say, things were good.

I had tickets to see one of my favorite bands, British Sea Power, at the Loft. In fact, it was to be my first ever gig in Dallas. I had seen British Sea Power maybe a dozen times before moving out, on their constant UK touring schedule. It was a pleasant surprise to see them playing out here. Three things struck me as we entered the venue, two of them being how small it was and how few people there were (I'd guess about 40). The third thing was a member of British Sea Power was tending to his own merch stand. Although this makes sense in the US, in the UK he would likely have been mobbed. I was overcome with that sort of terrible, gibbering, fandom that doesn't make any sense when viewed rationally, and so my lovely wife-to-be went to talk to him. She explained to him, which was all true, that our first date was to a British Sea Power gig, and now, just over a year later, here we were, engaged and embarking upon a ridiculous adventure together.

I expected him to just kind of go "cool story bro!" and try and make her buy something. Instead, he gathered other band members, who were just standing in the crowd watching the support, together to also tell them the story. They all made polite, smiling, conversation with us, and really I thought the night couldn't get any better, so I started drinking quite heavily.

About nine or ten songs into the set, the guitarist steps up to the mic, and begins to tell the crowd about our ridiculous story, which results in the singer joining in and declaring British Sea Power "The Band of Love." They then proceed to dedicate the next song to us, insisting we dance directly in front of the stage. Again, the night can't get any better, right?

Fast forward to the encore. We are both pretty blasted by this point. BSP have put on a great set. We're right at the front. Suddenly, the guitarist gestures for us to join him on the stage. We assume he's made a mistake. We wait. He gestures again, more insistently this time. Ascending to the stage, standing alongside one of my favourite bands, we are both ushered over to a microphone while the band strikes up their biggest hit, "Carrion". Further gestures imply that we are now doing the backing vocals, so we get stuck into that as only two people who've taken an excess of rum can. Really badly. As Carrion descends into BSP's usual chaos-driven noise-stupidity encore, I somehow end up with the guitarist on my shoulders (which he jumped onto, from an amp stack he was climbing) while he plays guitar with his teeth. I lose track of everything as we wheel drunkenly around the stage, narrowly avoiding the drum kit, while equipment takes a battering all around us. I'm pretty sure I ended the encore by using a man (who is still on my shoulders)'s guitar to hit a cymbal with, until the drummer kicked over the cymbal stack, and we all exited stage left.

British Sea Power then took us backstage, talked to us for an age (I am still suffering gibbering fandom at this point. Still.), gave us all of their free beer, reminisced with us about old UK tours we'd seen them on, and eventually they waved us away like old friends as we exited the bar, long after closing time. The trumpet player even halted a phone conversation with his wife to come and warmly wish us farewell.

Pretty much the best night ever.

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