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British Sea Power, Whelans, Dublin, 9th October 2003

Whelans of Wexford Street in Dublin has for many years hosted some of the most animated, eclectic and promising talents from the world of music. However, on Thursday the 9th of October, the Whelans audience was witness to something rather spectacular indeed. British Sea Power, five lads from, yes, Britain satisfied the Dublin crowd on every musical, theatrical and even comical level!

With an on stage set composing of Ivy leaves and flamingos and free Kendal mint cake on offer, there was a distinct feeling that above anything else these guys were a bit... different!

Visually, the band were amazingly eccentric, donning all forms of protective ensembles from a boiler suit to an entire WW2 military outfit complete with metal bunker hat and camouflage leaves.

Lead singer Yan, whose voice bears a resemblance to David Bowie, staccato'd his way through the powerful numbers from their acclaimed debut album "The Decline of British sea power". The combination of searing guitars, battered drums and the always fantastically present keyboard created a wall of sound that seemed to capture every member of the audience. A slower number, sung by guitarist Hamilton did fail to impress in comparison to the strength of Yans vocal prowess and seemed a little of place in this rather insane performance.

Stand out tracks on the night included the infectious current release 'Remember me', 'Fear of drowning' and the whirlwind of 'Apologies to insect life'. Much to the delight of the enthusiastic audience, the band produced an energetic show overall jumping, bouncing and shaking their way through most of the night.

By the end of the show, the crowd was one of the most appreciative I've witnessed in Whelan's. The keyboard player had walked through the audience with a bass drum held above his head and all members were on each other's shoulders shaking guitars and swinging from equipment and the venue itself!

Energetic merely touches on the performance this lot gave and it was easy to see that the audience wished them to continue all night. Whilst comparisons to legendary bands such as The Pixies and The Smiths have been thrown around, it is rather difficult to pigeonhole BSP into any category. After tonight's performance, it was clear that in the inevitable backlash against the NYC scene, it would be easily foreseeable that British Sea Power could easily guide us into a new and exciting era in British music. A future visit to our shores seems like the only relief for a crowd that was left thirsty for more.

Bernadette Johnston.

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