British Sea Power, Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Tuesday January 22
As a warm-up to British Sea Power’s aural onslaught, Glasgow six-piece Make Model provided an amiable if underwhelming set of chunky, chugging, mid-paced indie-pop. Melodically strong but rhythmically restricted, the band were held back by under-confidence.
Thirty minutes later, the onslaught began. Thanks to its cannily timed release date, which has taken full advantage of the traditional January lull, British Sea Power’s third album has gathered plaudits from all quarters, placing them very much as the band of the moment.
With drummer Woody laid up with a back injury, stand-in Tom White (Electric Soft Parade/Brakes) did an outstanding fill-in job. Numbers were further swelled by a violinist and a keyboard/brass player.
The set was dominated by cuts from the new album, punctuated by crowd-pleasers such as Please Stand Up and The Spirit Of St. Louis, which saw guitarist Noble scaling the outside of the balcony, tambourine in hand, before dropping down into the crowd below. Of the new material, current single Waving Flags drew the biggest response, showing clear signs of being a future festival anthem.
As usual, vocals were shared between Yan and Hamilton, who matched each other in concentrated intensity. For Atom, a 1940s air raid siren was hoisted onto the middle of the stage; it returned for the encore, which climaxed with an ear-splitting and cathartic twenty-minute version of No Lucifer.
Regular visitors to the Rescue Rooms over the years, the band have never sounded so focussed and confident. On the strength of this stunning set, 2008 could be theirs for the taking.