British Sea Power formed in 2000 and released their first record in 2001 – the ‘Fear of Drowning’ single on their own Golden Chariot label. But it was the band’s live performances that defined their first years.
When BSP played the 2002 Reading Festival, Rolling Stone indicated that the entirety of the weekend’s bill paled before them: “Fuck this puerile drivel; we’re going to see British Sea Power… British Sea Power rule!” Since then the band have played a collection of unforgettable shows in remarkable surroundings. The band’s debut album, ‘The Decline Of British Sea Power’, was released in 2003. There were concerts from St Petersburg to San Francisco – including tours with the Flaming Lips, Interpol, Pulp and The Killers. In 2004, Time Out made BSP Live Band of the Year at their annual awards.
In 2005, BSP released their second album, ‘Open Season’. It was a more streamlined, graceful record, but again the press located strength in depth. British Sea Power’s third album, ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ was released in 2008 and went straight into the top ten of the UK chart. Subject matter included floods on Canvey Island, economic migration, Slavia Prague FC, heartache, Big Daddy and the Apocalypse. The album was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and again the press shouted the record’s virtues from the rooftops. And now BSP’s fourth studio album, Valhalla Dancehall. It was written and recorded on Skye and in a remote farmhouse, near Selmeston in East Sussex. The title hints at some wild internationalist daydream – a mix of glowery Norse mythos and jam-happy Jamaican discos. The album has a glorious scope, moving from the windswept nine-minute meditation of ‘Once More Now‘ to the neat electronic pop of ‘Living Is So Easy’. Recordings were made during Britain’s coldest winter for 30 years.
BSP’s inventive live shows have become a latter-day rock institution. BSP have been acknowledged by the great institutions: David Bowie, the National Maritime Museum, Jarvis Cocker, the British Horseracing Authority. They are a band who tour giant American stadiums with old pals The Killers, but a band who also make singles with ancient West Country hitmakers The Wurzels. BSP are a band who play forests and giant rock halls as specially requested guests of The Flaming Lips, The Strokes and Pulp. But they’re also a band who stage their album launch parties in remote Sussex pubs where their own special guests are The Copper Family, a clan of Sussex folk singers who’ve been going for 200 years. No other band did this. Most likely no other band could. To See British Sea Power live:
Monday 7th Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach 0292 023 2199*
Tuesday 8th Bristol Thekla 0870 444 4400*
Wednesday 9th Birmingham HMV Institute 0844 248 5037*
Thursday 10th Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Saturday 12th Leeds Met University
Sunday 13th Glasgow Arches
Monday 14th Newcastle Tyne Theatre
Tuesday 15th Manchester Ritz 0161 832 1111*
Thursday 17th Dublin Academy
Friday 18th Belfast Spring and Airbrake
Saturday 19th Liverpool Stanley Theatre
Sunday 20th Cambridge Junction
Monday 21st Norwich Waterfront 01603 508 050*
Wednesday 23rd Brighton Komedia
Friday 25th Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Sunday 27th London HMV Forum 0844 847 2405* *
Tickets are £13.50 (£15 London) and are onsale now – www.gigsandtours.com / 0844 811 0051
‘Valhalla Dancehall’ was released 10th January 2011 preceded by new single ;Living So Easy Out’ now