British Sea Power, Bo Ningen
Alex Nelson 21/02/2011
Indie rock's king eccentrics British Sea Power have managed to transform the usually dark inner surroundings of Norwich's Waterfront venue into something of a certain
quaintness. Indeed, the merch stand is adorned with the usual - t-shirts, badges, tour EPs etcetera etcetera - but it is also covered in BSP flavoured titbits. From the cream fudges, the assorted teabags, and the band's very own brand of 'Zeus' beer, to the conservative audience of people of a certain character. It all comes together to make a crammed 700 capacity venue sound like a woozy night out down the village pub. It's like a gig crossed with an episode of Country File.
First up tonight are Japan's Bo Ningen. Taking to the stage in their usual psych inspired get up, vocalist Taigen spouts something at break neck speed in his native tongue, before turning to drummer Mon-Chan for a cheeky nod, as the band rip into a huge freeform noise intro. This sets in course a following thirty minutes of tight, 70s rock inspired tunes sandwiched between breaks of blistering skronk-noise, the first ascending riffs of the set giving way to off-kilter rhythms and Taigen's high-
pitched psycho babble vocals. The band's performance only clocks in at a feloniously short half an hour, and dissolves into an insane clattering freakout, the cacophonous dissonance bookending the set. There are no rambunctious stage rigging climbs like there was during the open expanses of last year's festival season in the relative confines of the Waterfront, but it is still a spectacle to behold.
Rolling onto the foliage covered stage to the sound of foghorns and the sight of omniscient search lights, British Sea Power launch into the crescendo chords of 'Who's In Control', which opens latest album release Valhalla Dancehall and tonight's gig in spectacular fashion. 'Does this escape you all the time?' retorts lead singer Yan as the band embark upon the drippy guitar lines of 'We Are Sound'.
Tonight's show encompasses a definitive guide to the band's back catalogue as well as all the choice cuts from that latest album, including the sleepy rhythms of recent single 'Living Is So Easy'. For instance, the pulsating tremolo of 'Luna' encapsulates the room, while the hauntingly wobbly guitar hooks of 'Stunde Null' rattle through the minds of the crowd and the wistful melodies of 'Mongk II' fizz and crackle around the . Fan favourites 'Remember Me', 'Something Wicked' and 'Waving Flags' reach into BSP's older records and rattle through the heads of the congregation, who grow in enthusiasm with the passing of each thunderously epic chorus.
The only lull comes when Yan and bassist Hamilton swap instruments mid-set for a few songs that bring a brief tedium over the venue, as either could be there other song such is their simplicity in their dirgy folk chords. Aside from that and the fact that charming indie bouncer 'Observe The Skies' is criminally left from the setlists, BSP put on a more than sturdy performance which manages to keep their loyal fan base of
dedicated followers super happy, while the louder moments of the show managing to grab the attention of the newer fans as well. By the end the twigs and leaves which once complimented BSP's stage set-up are flung to the crowd, to be held aloft by thebaying fans to resemble an ever swelling forest scene.
The lights come up at the end of the set and it's back out to the real, boring, suburban sprawl of the Norwich riverside area to make our ways home. Give us a real ale and an old boy with eccentric tales of the countryside any day. We're real 'heron addicts'.