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British Sea Power @ Thekla, Bristol, 8 February 2011

David Wells

It all seems a bit too good to be true, British Sea Power playing on board the Thekla, an old Baltic cargo ship in Bristol docks. It’s really much too small a venue, the place is packed and we’re grateful for the Plimsoll line just next to a Banksy on the hull.
First up are Cardiff’s “Race Horses”, who are so much better than when we saw them before. They sound at their best when the keyboards kick in, which gives them an Inspiral Carpets/ early Charlatans feel. They play material from their debut album Goodbye Falkenburg, sound a bit like Super Furry Animals’ noisy younger brother and go down really well.
However, it’s British Sea Power everyone’s come to see and they start their set with Who’s in Control from Valhalla Dancehall and finish 90 minutes later with vintage single, Spirit of St Louis. In between they run through pretty much all the stuff you’d want to hear including Carrion, Waving Flags, No Lucifer, The Great Skua , It Ended on an Oily Stage and loads of tracks from the new album. There’s little time for chatting as one song follows the previous one but even so they miss out personal favourites Fear of Drowning and Down on the Ground.
The only thing I can’t understand is why they’re playing such small venues, every time we see them it’s somewhere smaller than the time before.

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