British Sea Power : London ULU

Rock'n'roll's always had a healthy friendship with madness...

It’s hardly surprising [a]British Sea Power[/a] took their time in winning over the hearts of the great British public. They’re not exactly what you’d call a ‘sane’ band, after all. Tonight’s show involves a keyboard player taking cover under a WW1 helmet, a guitarist half-garrotting himself with his own scarf and the arrival of a big furry bear onstage.

[a]British Sea Power[/a], you see, have hatched more loopy plans than most mental-ward patients manage in an entire lifetime. But whereas they’re way more entertaining than a hungry twat in a perspex box, they’ve always struggled to get their music heard over their influx of crazy ideas.

Tonight, however, is one glorious smack in the cynics’ chops, as the [a]British Sea Power[/a] boys transcend their oddball reputation and become a thrilling rock’n’roll proposition. Latest single ‘Remember Me’ is jolting jitter-punk that straps [a]Joy Division[/a] into an electric chair and jumps on the lever. ‘Carrion’ is a soothing massage of swirling, guitar-enhanced tidal waves. And ‘Favours In The Beetroot Fields’ proves that dressing as the Famous Five is no obstacle to blasting out charged-to-the-nads bursts of schizo-punk.

As things descend into a cacophony of feedback and wild-bird noises, frontman Yan hurls himself at the baying crowd while guitarist Noble clambers to the summit of a speaker stack. Keyboardist Eamon, meanwhile, is making his way across the stage, thumping a big-band drum.

Rock’n’roll’s always had a healthy friendship with madness – from albums recorded in sandpits to strange voices in people’s heads telling them to buy the latest [a]Dido[/a] album. And at long last, these Brighton-based loons are twisting insanity into a shape that makes perfect sense.

James Tones