British Sea Power and Teeth of the Sea: The Ritz, Manchester.
[Picture of Teeth of the Sea courtesy of @PeteCollinsMCR of ‘Having A Party Without Me’ infamy]
The Ritz is renowned for its sprung dance floor and sticky carpet. Stories of its acrid and overpowering stink are less common amongst the residents of Manchester. And my word it pongs. This irrefutable fact must have contributed to the late showing of any form of animation amongst a generally sleepy crowd gathered last night to see British Sea Power and Teeth of the Sea: trying to catch your breath whilst moving and bopping only results in the inhalation of the stench of a very ripe Camembert to the point of near suffocation.
Moving with haste beyond the olfactory, Teeth of the Sea lived up to my massively, and potentially disabling, expectations. Despite a relatively sparse crowd for their slot, through opener ‘A.C.R.O.N.Y.M’ and via ‘Swear Blind The Alsatian’s Melting’, their enormous sound translated as I hoped it would. No doubt their all-round impact would have been enhanced further with projections and some flashy lights (which a support acts, it seems, are rarely permitted), but the confederation of a flying-V guitar (played with e-bow, beer bottle and behind the head), moustache/side parted hair combinations, and zoned out/face strained drumming, made up for any deficiencies in illuminations and visuals. A wonderful slice of post-psychedelic trash indeed.
It has to be said, British Sea Power are just getting better and better with time. The niggling sense of mild disappointment I’ve experienced after seeing them in the past has been replaced by a feeling that they really knowing their sound and how to deliver it. My song of the year so far ‘Who’s In Control?’ opened proceedings and others from the brilliant Valhalla Dancehall sat nicely in a set balanced enjoyably between the old and the new – ‘Oh Larsen B’ and ‘Apologies to Insect Life’ were accompanied well by the all-out frenzies of ‘Stunde Null’ and ‘Thin Black Sail’, and a stonking encore opener of ‘Zeus’. Yet it was, as it has been many times before, the majesty of ‘The Great Skua’ followed by ‘Carrion’ morphing into ‘All In It’ to finish off the main set that had me thoroughly locked in. A somewhat reserved, but still grin-worthy bit of crowd surfing by Noble (minus flying helmet and without a backdrop of bear-wrestling) during ‘No Lucifer’, and the slight and soon forgotten discomfort of his boot on my forehead (again), finished the events for the night.
And finally, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the exemplary practice of the merchandise stall: more bands should insist on such neatness in display and wickerwork baskets of fudge.
Teeth of the Sea – ‘Swear Blind The Alsatian’s Melting’:
Teeth of the Sea – ‘Cities of Gold’:
A glitch-rock remix of British Sea Power’s ‘Carrion’ and ‘All in it’ by Pressbutton:
British Sea Power – ‘Zeus’:
Just added. TOTS at the Ritz:
Buy TOTS and BSP here.