British Sea Power: Carnglaze Caverns, Liskeard, Cornwall: Sunday November 27
Britain’s most nature-conscious band rock the most, er, cavernous venue of their career
That’s right, British Sea Power are playing in a cave.Their knockers will no doubt accuse them of pretentiousness, but what those tits fail to appreciate is that BSP aspire to create something different and that such ambition should be celebrated. Admittedly, their recent split single with The Wurzels wasn’t even worth its novelty value, but it did get them in The Sun. Instead, let us rejoice as tonight British Sea Power do what they do best: play the most exciting gigs in the most unusual of places.
The first of their two sets consists of B-sides, beginning the show with an organ-filled waltz named ‘Heavenly Waters’. Hamilton switches with Eamon, bass for keyboards, prompting a set of instrument swapsies, the peak of which comes during ‘No Red Indian’ when singer Yan proves himself a talented drummer, and drummer Wood proves that he’s not only quite good on the bass but that he’s fairly tall too. The tranquillity of the B-sides gives space to contemplate this amazing venue: look up! There’s a shadow of Wood’s drumming on the cave roof; there are steps in the ceiling rising out of the cave – that’s why the sound isn’t echoing! This first set finishes with ‘True Adventures’ and finds everyone back on their specialist instruments.
Following an energetic intermission by electro-rockers Morton Valence, BSP return to the stage with Yan now sporting a 1920s racing-driver outfit, complete with rather dashing knickerbockers. The serenity of the first set is destroyed as the ferocious ‘Apologies To Insect Life’ has us all silently pondering the possibility of a cave-in. From the crowd, a modified bomber jacket complete with BSP insignia lands by Hamilton which he puts on. A bra lands by Noble and he does the same. During ‘Oh Larsen B’, their ode to the recently disintegrated Antarctic ice shelf, snow machines shower the audience.
Just as the cymbal-shimmering prologue to the epic set-closer ‘Lately’ has calmed the cave after a stalagmighty ‘Carrion’, a sudden thud breaks the silence as Noble knocks his guitar on a mic stand while reaching down for some booze. His boyish charm wins through and despite this apparent intoxication plays a note-perfect set. When ‘Lately’ climaxes and Yan shouts, “Do you like my megalithic rock!?/ Do you like my prehistoric rock!?”, never have these lyrics made more sense than here and now. Tonight, in a cave, in Cornwall, British Sea Power have, quite literally, put the rock back in rock’n’roll.