Brilliantine Mortality

Third Battalion

Third Battalion home / The Origins and Early History of the 3rd Battalion / Embrace the Past / A Rock in our Hearts / First Rites / BSP on tour Jan-Jun 2003 / Cath Aubergine's 2003 BSP Travelogue / ULU / BSP on tour Jan-Jun 2004 / Cargo / Springtime at Sea / True Adventures in the Land Beyond / To Cork and Dublin / The Children of the Summer's End / The Fall of British Sea Power

Footnotes The Search for HMS Sussex / Irish Jack

Fan reviews of BSP gigs can be found on the main site

Czech Sea Power at Cargo, London, 30/4/04

Set List: The Scottish Wildlife Experience/ Apologies to Insect Life/ Spirit of St Louis/ Fear of Drowning/ A Wooden Horse/ Childhood Memories/ Favours in the Beetroot Fields/ Remember Me/ Carrion/ Lately/ Rock in A. Encore: Fakir/ A Lovely Day Tomorrow

The second of two themed 'Czech Sea Power' nights (the first had been at the Roxy in Prague on April 8).

After selling out Shepherd's Bush Empire the night before, this intimate show at the 200-capactiy Cargo club in Shoreditch celebrated the Czech Republic joining the European Union on May 1. The Jiri Menzel film Closely Observed Trains was shown in the venue before the gig and, after BSP's first set, they were joined on stage at midnight by Katerina Winterova and Jan Muchow from the Ecstasy of St Theresa for Fakir, a song in the Czech folk tradition, and A Lovely Day Tomorrow, BSP's song about the Czech resistance.

The show was the final night of the band's spring 2004 tour. For some fans it seemed to mark the end of the band's 'Decline era' and it was indeed after this gig that BSP first started performing songs which would later appear on second album, Open Season. For anyone lucky enough to be in the audience that night, they would have seen the band perform at the peak of their powers and the initimate venue and the camaraderie among the crowd, and between the fans and the band, would mark it out as a special occasion in BSP's short history. This page contains two archived online reviews and the response to the show from people who attended the gig, as recorded on the British Sea Power forum


Rare FM
BSP forum

Read about the Czech Sea Power gig in Prague and BSP's Spring 2004 tour

This page is dedicated to the memory of Alan Spencer, who took the two photographs below. Other band pictures by Cath Aubergine; set-list by Yuko Takagi; flyer and ticket @ brilliantine mortality

Rockfeedback review *****

Whilst writing 'The Decline of British Sea Power', Brighton's ocean-faring force had attempted to recreate the feel of a Turner seascape. In the controversial artist's dramatic paintings, nature was a reflection and expression of man's emotions. With a stage bejungled by fauna, a (faux-)taxidermy menagerie of owl and heron, and snapshot projections of woodland, one can only wonder at the complex human feelings at the root of BSP's ornithological fixation. Who cares? It makes for a bloody good show.

At the rammed Old Street venue, filled with freaks and fashionistas two by two, it is plain to see why this four-piece command the loyalty of such a diverse assortment of fans. Authenticity, musical perversity and truth to one's vision, is a rare thing, but stranger still, is a band that saddles all three, especially when contrivance and derivation is the musical rule of thumb. One thing BSP could never be accused of is being anything other than genuine and bona-fied. This verisimilitude is apparent in every song, ringing unerringly from the streets and from the fields.

'Apologies to Insect Life' began matters, propelling the audience into a state of ridiculous excitement and almost instantaneous pogoing. Yan Scott's nondescript, hypnotic stare, and seductive vocals encompassing the rasp of Byrne and whoop of Bowie, had all aboard chorusing in unison and a crowd overwhelmed by BSP's ability to paint the grandeur of nature at its most romantic and sublime.

'Carrion', with its simple harmonies yet dazzling pageantry was a definite highpoint, a song which more than any other evokes the battle of raging seas and threatening squalls, and the dark hull with flag flying bravely from its mast. Live, more striking and dramatic than when consigned to the limited dimensions of CD (or mp3, for that matter), BSP's lowly crew could feel the rush of wind and sails impressed upon them, a feeling matched by old favourite 'Remember Me' - such is the unfathomable, touching quality of these timeless, angular songs, awash with Bunnymen guitars, the aching melancholy of New Order and certain smack of Pavement.

In the same vein as concept bands such as Dexy's Midnight Runners and Clinic, BSP come with a uniform, although tonight the WW1 militia dress is scant, paraphernalia confined to Long Johns, appurtenances restricted to a mentalist drummer-boy entourage, who, at various points throughout the set, runs rampage upon the stage in a camouflage-strewn helmet, exhuming the madness of a shell-shocked soldier.

Like four vessels in a world of movement, the steamer in a blizzard approach of BSP engenders an ecstatic audience quite swept away by the end of it. Culminating in a man-overboard situation, the extra drummer being carried on the shoulders of the crowd (drumming with his hands, with his head, the light, and with the collective heads of the audience) and guitarist Noble crowd surfing – four times. This is a performance behoving triumph and fame. With the tides set in their favour, perhaps it's high time the LP should be renamed. The meteoric rise of BSP? Aye Aye Captain.

Clare Burtenshaw

Rare FM review

Let this be an open thank you letter to British Sea Power for being their eccentric selves and for giving their fans something to write home about multiple times. What we got was a night at Cargo, on April 30th, that will be remembered for many years to come by all in attendance. Do not be fooled into thinking this was your average gig, this was in fact an evening with a theme. The evening was aptly titled 'Czech Sea Power'. Czech films, including 'Closely Observed Trains', were shown. The opening band, the Ecstasy of St. Theresa, was Czech. And a little after midnight, in order to celebrate the Czech Republic's entry into the EU, the band preformed their Czech single 'Zitra Bude Kransy Den' (aka 'A Lovely Day Tomorrow') with the Ecstasy of St. Theresa.

By all accounts, this was a defining gig for a band at a crossroads in their career. Some have called it the end of an era. The night before, British Sea Power played a sold out gig at Shepherd's Bush Empire and reports have been circulated that this tour was the last one where the band would decorate the stage with foliage and plastic birds. So perhaps Cargo was a tense moment, one that could make or break the love of a band. Would they still be able to perform in a small venue after playing large ones? I am glad to say that they delivered, not just for us but for themselves as well. Some say singer Yan had tears in his eyes during the last song. Guitarist Noble stage dived three times from sheer exhilaration and keyboardist Eamon was picked up and carried around the venue triumphantly by fans.

The gig radiated with energy from the moment the band took the stage. The songs were the same as others they have played on the tour but the set list seemed to have a new sense of vitality in it. While one could listen to BSP's current repertoire for ever and not tire of the life they inject in their music, in the back of my mind I do wonder that they don't start adding some new music into the sets. What is going to happen to British Sea Power? Will they release another album? Those are questions that I can't answer but even if Cargo was a fin de siecle, it was one that ended in a blaze that promised an eventual re-emergence from the ashes.

The second appearance of the band after midnight truly capped the evening. The band started with their b-side to their Czech single, 'Fakir'. By that point, everyone was quite merry from alcohol or otherwise and the band successfully got the audience to sing along to the chorus. The crowning glory of the night was 'A Lovely Day Tomorrow', sung by Katerina Winterova in a mix of Czech and English. As she reached the last line, Winterova had a look of such unabashed joy on her face that there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the evening had been an all around success. British Sea Power are certainly one of the best live acts today and one can only wonder what beautiful things they will dream up next.

Julie Schaeffer

Posts from the British Sea Power forum

Kevo: The best gig I have ever been to – and I have been to a few! I don't know where to begin. Not surprising perhaps, as just about all I could say to people after the gig was "I'm speechless". I'm sure others will come on here and explain in much more articulate terms about how last night was the most awesome, blinding, stunning, life- enhancing musical experience they have ever witnessed, and I'm sure I can't do it justice, but fuck it, here goes...

British Sea Power were quite simply out of this world. The opener Bass Rock set the tempo for the rest of the gig – performed at full throttle with the crispest, most ear-splitting sound I can recall. And the audience were quite simply marvellous too – no dickheads flailing elbows in people's faces or trying to get on stage, just everyone getting off on the whole thing. I couldn't help thinking it seemed like a private party for all the hardcore fans – but of course it wasn't about us. It was about the band and their wonderful, wonderful music. No bear – but who cares? I was glad in a way. Too many theatrics get in the way sometimes – as I said to Den* afterwards: "It's about music, music, the fucking music!". It seemed like nothing in the world could stop the band giving in to its power and intensity – Noble's spectacular double twist and somersault into the audience and Eamon's horizontal crowd surfing – while still clouting his marching drum – were natural expressions of what all of us were feeling.

After surely the most glorious Lately and Rock in A ever (did Yan really have tears in his eyes?), there was a brief respite before they came back on at midnight with the Ecstasy of St Theresa and marked the Czech Republic joining the EU with Fakir and A Lovely Day Tomorrow. A sublime moment. Then the Sea Power DJs took over. The first track was Transmission, which propelled a group of us by the stage to dance with utter abandon. It seemed like an affirmation of what we were all there for. Everything had been building up to last night. It was an epiphany. I briefly thought perhaps I should never go and see them again. It simply can't get any better than this. I even said to Kingfisher: "Kill me now, I don't care!"

If I have any regrets it was that I ended up with a couple of spare tickets, and tried to get some non-BSP fans along to the gig but without success. One an ex-girlfriend, the other a current girlfriend. Neither of them really get it. Neither of them understand why I love this band so much. I just wish they had been there so I could say: "Do you see? Do you fucking see?!"

My other regret was that De Lacey, who's at Coachella, missed it. I almost feel guilty about posting this. Hope you understand I have no choice, matey. He had texted me earlier and said, "Enjoy tonight – it's the end of an era".

And he's right. Or at least it feels like it. Is this really the end of part one? I don't know. Maybe it should be. Cut it clean and cut it deep. And start all over. Another adventure for us all... I can't wait.


Sinned: Kevo speaks the truth, always, but particularly in this case. Can I be lazy and just agree with everything he just said? Just got a text from Pale Fox, it says "Bring on the next era. Now!" Oh yes.

Wide eyed: I feel like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday when all she can say is "So happy, so very happy" (or something to that degree.) I actually woke up feeling really depressed that it was all over but as I wrote the longest livejournal post I have hope to write I re-lived it all and now I can't wait to get my pictures developed ;D

I think Cargo was just a re-affirmation of why I spend money on BSP. Do I need to continue searching anymore for the ultimate live BSP experience? Well, I still will because now I remember why I fell in love with BSP in the first place. I suppose you can never replicate the first time you saw BSP and went "wow" but yesterday was pretty durn close

Pale Fox: And the smiles on everyone's faces... including the band during the Czech section, when everyone's face was a happy face. Eamon looked happier than I could imagine anyone looking ever, and I just felt a real sense of joy and elation. A real rush... and I have just realised that I feel like I'm in love. That can't be right, but last night has clearly set all sorts of brain chemicals surging.

And what a wonderful, wonderful collection of people you all are. I look forward to spending many other happy evenings with you, but I will cherish the memory of last night for a long, long time.

Bearsinie: You're spot on Kevo, good sir. It was the most incredibly, unbelievably and totally ridiculously wonderful spectacle I have ever witnessed.

Sinned: Nearly forgot, I have some amazing photos, thanks to KFCF. Will get them up as soon as my head's stopped spinning. Another thing I forgot, thetuftyclub brought two BSP virgin mates last night. After the gig one of them said to me: "I'll be telling people I was at this gig for a long time to come". Perfect. I love you all.

Alicat: And the end bit. The last little set with the Czech stuff. Have you ever seen a whole audience and a whole band all beaming from ear to ear like that simply because it SOUNDS SO GOOD?

JCT: I woke up today with a screaming hangover, and a mixture of awe and depression. The gig was that good that I feel a bit subdued about it now. That's a bit dumb really?

As Kevo said earlier, it is all ultimately about the music – and boy did the band deliver. Made a mental note that Cargo provides a superb acoustic – Noble's guitar just sang out over a HUGE drum sound, yet it was all in perfect balance. And don't the band just thrive on it ? I felt like they knew the power was there as if they were riding the perfect wave. Two friends of mine decided to leave before the second set – what a bad said above – the joy present for the midnight songs was beautiful. Leave any cynicism outside – this was about being up – it seemed like the audience and the band were all just in heaven.

I think it really does feel like something is about to change, and perhaps that's why I am feeling a bit down today. Oh well, whatever happens I am sure it will move along on its own merry and brilliant way. For me Cargo was a little bit like full circle. When I saw BSP for the first time in the tent at Reading, the sound was immense with perfect harmonics and power. That was the start of my BSP world – last night confirmed it all.

Many thanks to all who make these moments possible.

Cath Aubergine: I have the same problem as Kevo... I've run out of words for how good that was. I'm still trying to work out if it was actualy the best gig of my life, I already know it's in the highest of echelons. Stunning. My best mate Jam was initiated the previous night at Shepherds Bush and couldn't wait for more. I wasn't going to get right at the front, really I wasn't, but I always say that don't I? Of course by the time the band came onstage I was there, and already in high spirits.

I admit the discovery that they would sell you bottles of wine over the bar on Switch card may have been an influencing factor, but it was mostly the excitement. The just knowing that this was something incredibly special, and that ten nights of musical ecstasy across the country were all flowing through my bloodstream, waiting to explode.

From the moment they came onstage it was the rollercoaster ride of a lifetime. The music took control of me. Highlights? Well, no... there wasn't a moment that wouldn't have been a highlight at most other gigs, if you know what I mean. And then the midnight business, well, god did they just manage to top it all. Fakir was just incredible, and then Lovely Day Tomorrow – yes, I was in tears, floods of them, don't know why, just couldn't imagine anything better than this amazing band.

Efeelola: Last night was beyond words (but I am still going to try to frame it). It was the best gig I have ever been to in my short fling with BSP. Now I have got four long months with only Isle of Wight to look forward to. I have no idea how I am going to survive that.

Cargo was just the perfect venue. Decent sound. Tiny stage. Fakir was extremely fun live. Always happy to sing along, the chorus was just heaven for me (in between fits of laughter) I just love that song. I am still buzzing from last night. It was so difficult not to rant on and on about last night at my manager at work today. Friends I dragged along enjoyed it tremendously.

Thank you everyone. gigi x

Bluebellmorning: Woah... How great? They just got better and better each night I saw them. Shepherd's Bush was amazing. I left feeling as though I had just seen the best gig ever. That was until Cargo. What can I say? Just perfect in everysinglefuckingway. It worries to me to think it is going to get better. And it will, I know it will.

Thanks to everyone I have spoken to over the last nine days... everyone I have met has been wonderful. I can't see any band ever being better than British Sea Power. To go into a gig and have my extremely high expectations and excitement bettered tenfold (and more) is pretty fucking impressive. When's the next tour?

Helena: Definitely the best gig I have ever been to. I came for it from Prague and felt crazy with doing something like that, but it was more than worth it, I cannot remember myself ever jumping like maniac at a gig and screaming, I am not really usually like that :-)

And the better gig, the worse coming down to earth. It is my first time in London, but I somehow lost my interest in seeing some Tower or whatever. I waste my time with just hanging around, making photos of dogs in the parks and similar nonsense, and reading this forum :-)

I would like to greet all people here, I hope we could meet at some gig, if I will ever spare enough money to make another foolish (but amazing) trip like this.

Northern Pete: It's all been said really, a special night all round. If it is the end of an era, or the end of a phase of this bands career, then what a perfect way to celebrate it. Didn't you know it was going to be fantastic when BSP came on stage, and Hamilton screamed into the mic? The sound was amazing, and the energy and vibe in the venue while BSP were playing was something I've rarely experienced.

Thanks to those who I've got to know along the way, and who've made this journey extra special. Onwards and upwards. Peter

Dunnocks: Cargo also saw the best version of Lately I've ever heard – not just the best singing, guitar etc but the best everything. But then the midnight set was also absolutely unforgettable, as was dancing to Transmission afterwards.

Kevo was right – it was an indescribably amazing night. I can only hope the band enjoyed it as much as we all did!

Simbelyne: I screamed, I cried, I danced, I laughed, I surfed and I kissed. Tell me anyone or anywhere else that could have made all that happen. Many thanks to all. x

Julie: Wowza. Cargo was magnificant on every level. It transcended the definition of a gig. It was a celebration, of the band, the songs, the fans, the Czech Republic, the sadness of recognising the end of an era but also the excitement of things to come. Who knows where this band are gonna take us?

Highlights for me included-

Noble – crowdsurfing, saying random stuff into the microphone, impeccable guitar-work and gymnastics.

The bit when the monitors nearly invaded the stage with me, Mick and Cath attached to them – and then the big bouncer guy who intervened but got swept away by the surge of the crowd (I think it might have been during Fear of Drowning as well!) – classic stuff.

Childhood Memories – always orgasmic but particularly so at Cargo.

A Lovely Day Tomorrow – absolutely stunning, a really joyous moment.

The battalion strutting their stuff on the dancefloor – we ruled!

Thanks to everyone who was there and at the other dates. It's been amazing.

Angela'Johnny'Cannon: I can't remember any other gig I have been to that has caused me to burst in to floods of tears when it was time to go home. Yes, I had PMS. Yes, I was totally knackered. But all the same, the music was absolutely mind-blowing, the company was, as ever, fantastic, the film was fucking ace, it was almost a perfect night. I am with Kevo on 'best gig I have ever been to'.

BSP showed just what a superb musical outfit they are by filling the SBE the night before and sounding ace then playing to 200 the following night and bringing the same magical atmosphere. If anyone knows of a better band, then they are wrong.

If I was drunk, I would end this post by saying 'I love BSP, I love all of you' but as I'm not I will end it by saying that in the cold rational light of day British Sea Power are the best band in the world right now in every way and that I feel honoured to have spent time with each and every one of you. Here's to BSP becoming the biggest band in the world and many more adventures in the future.

Doll: It's all been said so I wont go on... As always, a big thank you to BSP for making our lives so completely and utterly manic, but enriched beyond our wildest dreams. I for one will now wait with a Dick Van Dyke type spring in my step, for the next leg of this intoxicating journey.

Bring it on. doll xxx

Dr Jules: Indeed, t'was godly. I have often suffered in the past from post-BSP-gig blues, the 'comedown' that someone else alluded to on this thread. However, Friday night was so bloody stupendous that I merely strolled through the Upper Street drunkards grinning like an idiot.

The following morning, at 8am, whilst most of you indulged in your much-deserved beauty-sleep (or just sleep in some cases), I was strolling into a 10 hour shift at the Highbury Barn.

However, not even this could dampen the spirits, as Miss BSP-Czech 2004's Lovely Day Tomorrow lyrics echoed through what's left of my brain. As per usual, great to see y'all again; in spite of what my other friends say, I think you're all very cool (yes, even you Kev). Here's to next time...

Northern Pete: Central London, 2.30am Sat morn, people-carrier style taxi, Dr Jules & Angela "Johnny" Cannon with heads out of sunroof shouting "Sea Power", extremely irate taxi driver, N.Pete in hysterics. Thank you both xx

Kingfisherscatchfire: Thanks to AJC and Kevo for both enveloping me in their respective limbage all at once and sharing their 'magic moment' with me at Cargo: "We're really happy – we just wanted to tell you!"

It was a night, wasn't it...

Mick Wright: Kevo – my sentiments in the shell of a nut.

The front was terrific, yet again having to grab hold of various bits of monitor, Julie and Cath and Eleanor – I owe you apologies.

At the end, after hugging Julie and Northern Pete, I retired to a quiet place until my eyes stopped leaking.

There's (thankfully only) one picture of me – with hands clasped together looking upwards – the caption should read "OK Lord, it's not going to get any better – you may as well beam me up RIGHT now"

Gutterqueen: Mick, my favourite bit was when you turned to me with ecstasy writ large on your face and said, "It's alright! It'll do!" and I shrieked, "They're the best band in the whole fucking world!!" while flapping my hands about hysterically.

I feel a bit odd at the moment. I don't think I've had a square meal or a decent night's sleep for some time. I feel like I'm on a very intense comedown - which I am, I suppose. I'm skint and knackered and unemployed and a bit confused about what path to take over the next few years. Mummy Gutter and I have been arguing lots too about my 'hedonistic lifestyle' and 'lack of direction'. The only thing that soothes me is Sea Power and the memories of the best two weeks I've had for a while.

I feel privileged to have met each and every single one of you, and feel I've made some really good friends. I love you all. *wipes eyes* Eleanor xxx

Kevo: I suppose I should apologise for exuberantly collaring Yan at the end and telling him it was "the best gig ever" and then gibbering on like a loon to his girlfriend about how she was going out with a genius! Oh dear. Like Helena and GQ, I too felt somewhat disorientated for the rest of the weekend... whatever else I did my heart wasn't in it. It felt like the world had changed somehow.

Cath Aubergine: Oh dear indeed, but that makes me feel very slightly better about having grabbed hold of Eamon, hugged him rather tightly for about 5 minutes whilst probably gibbering like a loon myself, and possibly cried. Hope he doesn't think I was trying to... well, I wasn't, anyway, I just got a bit carried away after all that red wine (according to my bank statement I visited the bar slightly more than I thought I had... oh dear again!). I hope they understand just how emotional we get watching them play their tunes!

I can't actually think of a single gig I have been to where I was so elated throughout. It was the best gig of my life, and I'm not surprised I'm not the only one.

Still not quite back on planet earth yet either. It doesn't normally take this long...

TigerLily: It seems too late to add my comments, but better late than never, anyway.

I was just blown away. I couldn't believe they were there in front of my eyes. They are the best in the world, full stop. Usually I hesitate to say 'this band is the best or that gig is the best' stuff, but I am now proud to say that they are truly the best. Right at this moment. There is none the better.

It's only May, but already I've begun to think I would not be excited as much as I was on Friday for the rest of this year...

Pale Fox: I'm not usually known for getting carried away, but, indeed, it still feels like it was a very exceptional night. Sigh.

Julie: I don't know about anyone else, but my Cargo comedown is kicking in. Back to reality. Or something.

Cath Aubergine: I've done a lot of tours now (various bands) and certainly when it's like this, a lot of people doing a few dates, it can be a bit of a crash at the end. Or a lot of one...

This though, well this has been different for me. Perhaps it's the sheer amazing high on which we went out last Friday. The love in that room between a bunch of truly disparate people of all ages and backgrounds towards each other and towards the band.

So whilst my body feels thoroughly decrepit at the moment from the bruises of varying vintage all over my arms and legs to the tiredness still trying to close my eyes, I'm still smiling. And will be, I think, for some time yet...

Angela'Johnny'Cannon: Be gone with your comedown talk! I feel revitalised and inspired. These are exciting times, my brothers and sisters, and we should feel honoured to be part of them.

Take what you have seen, take that stirring in your heart, that tear in your eye, that rush in your pants and go create! Become something wonderful and look back and say that night, that magnificent night in such humble surroundings but with such extraordinary company, has made me a better person.

Love yourself, love the world around you, change your life and become all you have ever wanted to be.

Sarah (aka the Lonely): Thank you AJC, that was a lovely post.

Hanna: Reading this thread has made me feel incredibly jealous of everyone who went, and also gutted that I didn't go, but it has also made me realise what is so fantastic about BSP.

The fact that everyone can write such fantastic things and be so excited by one band is amazing, and it gives me a nice feeling inside to think that there are still people who care so much about the music, and a band that also cares so much about the music that they give fantastic performances all the time.

It's very hard to describe, but I guess it's just refreshing to feel like this, to feel so excited by a performance I've only read about.

Glad you all had such a good time xxx

Home   Profile  Discography  Lyrics  Downloads  Press   Fan reviews   Photos   Links   Third Battalion   Contact