Forgetting the England flags and football for one night this week, Fibbers were Waving Flags for the triumphant British Sea Power on Saturday night. They were joined by their legendary caniform ‘Ursine Ultra’, and support from Stereoscope.
By Blue Wilson
Photos by Andy Argyle
Warming up the stage and growing crowd like a Gulf Stream, were semi-local band Stereoscope. Suspense and tension mounted to electronicist Tim Wright’s intro, Massive Attack style, as Andy Johnson, deadpan vocalist sat cross legged on stage in seemingly remote contemplation. Martell James’ red drums slowly kicked in to the electro grooves of their “first song” Be a Better Man. Their “second song” – Johnson teased the audience with the omission of song titles – Counterfeit the Funk offered more building up of electric beats, expletives and live drums with increasingly upbeat vocals. A more harmonious Walk through the Fire with rousing pop chorus, synths and drums enlivening the Tricky meets Sherlock Holmes’ style vocals. The crowd fully awakened as Automaton came to a crashing crescendo and they slipped off the befoliaged stage. With not a guitar in sight, these three are certainly ones to watch as an up and coming alternative electro indie rock trio.
The place was packed as British Sea Power entered and enthralled with just their sound check! The lights then dimmed, signalling their readiness to overthrow and the anticipation was like a tightly coiled spring. The magnificent Machineries with its scratchy recorded intro brought the six back out to mass cheering. The gentle familiar guitar harmonies, filmic keyboards and strings had the crowd suitably mesmerised as if this band had the power to hypnotise through chords, cords and stockinged feet alone. Telstar 2 saw the spring uncoil mid chorus with its head-banging drums and keyboards and Abi Fry’s viola aflame under the halo of oak leaves and branches. The audience were caught like rabbits in the blinding searchlights waving from the stage in a blitz of soaring sounds.
Everyone still enraptured with an upbeat start to Spark, Yan Scott Wilkinson then sung “can’t we stay” and thank goodness they did – for a generous twelve more songs. Yan’s soft whispering vocals, were like he was divulging a dark secret to the gentle waves of lapping rhythms and Phil Sumner’s soft distant cornet like a siren calling to Ulysses.
Remember had the whole venue clapping and jumping, even the roadies! This band has an ardent following with people travelling from all across the country to see them perform. Mongk saw Neil Hamilton Wilkinson at lead vocals for an increased tempo and rockier additional guitar and viola riffs. A fret of dry ice covered the moshing crowd as they surged, arms raised to a much loved Lucifer chanting along to its’ finish. Rocky was heavier guitars, Matthew Wood’s drums and angelic interludes courtesy of Abi’s vocals and submersible sounding keyboards sets, whilst Sun rises to folk rock vocals and sea mammal psychedelic drifts.
As their big black bear is unleashed into the crowd and a begloved Martin Noble proceeds to clamber over heads to tackle the beast, British Sea Power prove yet again that they have many surprises up their boiler suit sleeves. The lulling anthem of Louis climaxed in an electrifying tsunami of manically sprinting instruments, parting the waves then for firm favourite Waving. Ending on a hedonistic tide with Skua, after a monumental set these guys and girl certainly did not owe the place an encore.
With an extensive mix of alternative rock and contemplative cinematic compositions, British Sea Power are truly astronomical and most definitely here for a while!
Stereoscope and British Sea Power played at Fibbers on Saturday 18 June 2016