Stuffed animals, plant life, military uniforms, a man using a stuffed bird to beat a drum; it’s a wonder Fibbers didn’t get busted by the RSPCA after a tip off that some kind of festival of vivisection was going down. But this was no subversive animal-violating sect, this was a British Sea Power live show.
The set was festooned with bits of greenery and stuffed animals and sat there, redundant and intriguing for a number of minutes. What kind of band draws inspiration from the rough ramblers? We had our answer as the band took to the stage clad in a mixture of old military uniforms and urban street wear and glided straight into playing a psychedelic instrumental and followed it with a hectic rendition of Apologies To Insect Life. Unlike their album, The Decline of British Sea Power (reviewed on muse page 13), there was less of a melodic feel to this set, and more of a dirty, industrial vibe, as they rampaged through most of their LP with gusto and relish.
Their music was very bass and rhythm driven, calling to mind such great forefathers as Joy Division and The Smiths. I could never really imagine Ian Curtis or Morrissey perching on every available ledge, holding their leaf covered coat behind their head like head like a plaque and confusedly dragging each other to the ground like it was a drunken scene from a wrestlers’ retirement home.
Suddenly the gig turned into some kind of wacky post-modern dream, as the keyboard player, Eamon, wearing a First World War helmet, came out into the audience beating a huge bass drum with a stuffed bird, inviting the Fibber’s crowd to bang the drum. Freud would probably have an explanation for all of this, the kids from Dawson’s Creek would say it was all image and gimmickry, but I would say it was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.