Gig - Fort Rox Festival: British Sea Power

In 2004 Brighton-based post-punkers British Sea Power were voted by Time Out as the Live Band of the Year. They’re not the sort of guys you’d expect to find playing in Newhaven Fort. Or then again, maybe they are. The band are well-known for their offbeat sense of style and humour, and obscure references in their lyrics. They sing of Dostoevsky, of Charles Lindbergh; of the Kattegat and Skagerrak; of Lullington Church and Hilaire Belloc and the Larsen B ice shelf. The have done a cover version of The Wurzels I am a Cider Drinker. They are a fivepiece: Yan sings and plays guitar, his Cumbrian schoolmates Hamilton and Wood play bass and drums, Eamon from Gloucestershire plays keyboards and percussion and Mancunian Noble plays lead guitar. Sometimes they sound a bit like Joy Division, sometimes they sound a bit like the Smiths, sometimes there’s a twinge of early Bowie, but don’t think they don’t sound original: they always sound like British Sea Power.

Newhaven Fort is one of a series of unusual venues that the band have played in, which includes the Scillonian Club in the Isle of Scilly, Grasmere Village Hall, and the St. John Boste Social Club in Yan’s home town of Kendal. A gig is quite an event as they rig up the stage with elaborate decorations including fake foliage and plastic animals. If you are lucky a ten-foot bear called Ursine Ultra walks onstage and gets beaten up by band members. Sets end with an 8-minute semi-improvised number Rock in A.

Continued overleaf…

Newhaven Rocks! And British Sea Power rule the airwaves