British Sea Power - Salty Water

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Academy 3, Manchester, UK

Tonight's atmosphere varies somewhat from their previous and much larger show downstairs. Instead of the widespread feel of exhilaration and optimism, the core of the buzz concentrates into smaller more virulent pockets.

The usual air of inscrutable chaos pervades under the usual manner of branches, plastic birds and marching drum. Initial suspicions of novelty are partially put to bed as such an ambience still holds strong perhaps aided by the prevalence of the uber-fans (stalkers?) yelping and manipulating a heron in the front two rows.

For a supposed tour of B-sides, covers and new material there's a huge portion dedicated to staple songs. 'Remember Me', 'Fear of Drowning' and opener 'Apologies to Insect Life' receive the usual hammering to rapturous applause. Each piece may not exactly be a classic but it blags the feel of one with that ponderous chord set, personal enough melody and splash of smart guitar for extra character. Ok, so you can pick out their influences wearing boxing gloves but BSP tightly shape them to their own end. As this show is supposedly about the future it's pleasing to see that it looks reasonably bright as new material seems both equal to previous efforts but also sufficiently different.

Intended as a show for the hardcore, it eventually descends into 10 minutes of joyless jamming - a pubic hair in the sandwich of anyone that's ever witnessed the cliché of a feedback meltdown before. However, it's an irritation that we have become accustomed to with artists that must number in their thousands. Thank God we have evolved an advanced memory.

Author: Dave Himelfield
Source: Manchester Music
Date: 3rd November 2004

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