Czech Sea Power at Cargo, London, 30/4/04
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
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.
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.
Posts from the British Sea Power forum
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,
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
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!"
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?!"
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".
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.
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
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.
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
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?
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 move...as 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 :-)
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
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.
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.
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
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?
for me included-
– crowdsurfing, saying random stuff into the microphone, impeccable
guitar-work and gymnastics.
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.
Memories – always orgasmic but particularly so at Cargo.
Lovely Day Tomorrow – absolutely stunning, a really joyous moment.
battalion strutting their stuff on the dancefloor – we ruled!
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'.
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.
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
it on. doll xxx
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.
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.
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...
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!"
was a night, wasn't it...
Wright: Kevo – my sentiments in the shell of a nut.
front was terrific, yet again having to grab hold of various bits
of monitor, Julie and Cath and Eleanor – I owe you apologies.
the end, after hugging Julie and Northern Pete, I retired to a quiet
place until my eyes stopped leaking.
(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"
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.
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.
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*
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.
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!
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.
not quite back on planet earth yet either. It doesn't normally take
TigerLily: It seems too late to add my comments, but better late than never,
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.
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...
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
yourself, love the world around you, change your life and become
all you have ever wanted to be.
(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.
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.
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.
you all had such a good time xxx