The fact that I'm still listening to British Sea Power four albums into their career is somewhat surprising. Sure, I'm a fairly faithful listener, and it helps that the band has maintained a level of notoriety that lets me see them at the kind of venues I prefer. However, it was a huge relief to hear such compelling chords at the opening of Valhalla Dancehall. Way to keep the streak alive, guys (and girl), and thanks for coming back to the Independent for your San Francisco appearance.
British Sea Power, the Independent, April 5, 2011: According to my records, British Sea Power has managed to visit the States every three years or less, but for some reason, the previous tour felt like it was a long time coming. That, in part, explains why I went, er, overboard with British Sea Power's last series of shows in the States, though I can't lie--I also did it because I'm crazy about the band. For once, the excess might've cured me. Though I considered and penciled in another gig on this tour, I ended up hitting only one show--in my hometown, to boot!
To refresh, British Sea Power played the Independent in support of Open Season six years ago to the month, but a lot has changed since then. Most notably, the personnel has shifted, though they've kept the same lineup from the 2008 tour. Also, despite asking for contributions of foliage on their mailing list, the stage was sadly flora-free. The band didn't skimp on the owls, however. Ultimately, their stage-climbing, piggybacking hijinks went MIA, as did their banter, but as Yan explained, it was nothing personal--they just wanted to play as much music as possible.
In exchange, we got a primo setlist covering all four albums, including a few titles out of left field. "Something Wicked" may have been the big surprise of the evening, so thanks to whomever requested it. Also from the debut record, perennial crowd-pleasers "Remember Me" and "Carrion" took their usual spots as the anchors of the show.
In addition, the well-represented Do You Like Rock Music succeeded on two fronts: It brought me back to the previous tour, and it reminded me of Hamilton's growth as a songwriter on that record. Thus, it was great to see him get his own dedicated four-song section of the show.
I'm always delighted to hear anything from the underappreciated Open Season, so "Larsen B" and "It Ended on an Oily Stage" were welcome selections, even if the fickle fangirl in me would've campaigned for "True Adventures" too. "A-Rock" wasn't officially on the list, but an eerily familiar--if also truncated--commotion descended at the end of the gig. It's nice to see that some things never change.
Alas, I opted out of the following night's gig when they announced the venue had changed from the Brookdale Lodge to the Catalyst because of asbestos issues. I've never been to the former, but I'm familiar enough with the latter to know it wasn't worth the drive (and the car rental and the lost sleep). I also recently saw that BSP canceled the Marfa gig because of local wildfires. I hope this isn't an unlucky streak for the band, but then again, if any group has survived an injury scare or two, they can. I look forward to their 2014 run!
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