Bear With Me

British Sea Power/DeadLight Red – Doghouse, Dundee – 28th September 2010

Prior to supporting the Manic Street Preachers this week, British Sea Power have been touring out of the way places in Scotland including an appearance at Fence’s Away Game on Eigg as well as shows in rock backawaters such as Tobermory, Inverness and, er,  Dundee.

As a consequence last night’s appearance at the Doghouse led to two firsts for me. Firstly it was the first time I’ve been to the new Doghouse since it opened last year and initial impressions are reasonable. Although in total sizw it’s smaller than the Brown Street venue of the same name, in practical terms only the sections of the T where you couldn’t see the band from at the previous venue have been lost with the main room of a similar size to previously.

Sound wise it seems OK too, with the only grump being the fact that the lesser instruments  (trumpet, violin, keyboard) struggled for space against the guitars but that seemed down to mixing rather than any problems with the venue per se.

My second first was that this was the first time I’ve worn earplugs to a gig but I can’t say that the experiment was too successful. What should have been an impressive opening salvo from BSP was spoiled somewhat by the muffling effects of the earplugs and it was only after I moved further back and took them out that I properly enjoyed the show. Having said that I appear to have used the highhest filter, so I’ll try using the other two to see if I can strike a better balance next time.

BSP’s performance was certainly less flamboyant than their last show in Dundee with no crowd surfing, no handstands nor giant bears. But what they proved was that they don’t need the distractions to put on a great show.

Centred largely around ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’, the set also featured a decent chunk of the upcoming ‘Zeus’ E.P. whilst there was also another boisterous new song which is presumably intended for the next LP.

Whilst the ‘Rock Music’ singles probably went down best with an enthusiastic (if not sold out) crowd, the highlights for me were probably the instrumental ‘The Great Skua’ and sole encore ‘Apologies to Insect Life’.

Support came from local outfit ‘DeadLight Red’ (and not ‘Deadly Red’ as I initially thought. Just as well – that would be a dreadful name). They didn’t excite me terribly but to be fair to them I did have the earplugs in for virtually all their set and if they could anaesthetize BSP’s opening salve then they were more than capable of shutting out a band I’d never heard before. In any case. even with the earplugs, they definitely got much more lively as the set drew to its conclusion.

So all in all a decent night but from this perspective, one that was spoilt slightly by my own incompetence!

You can buy the new BSP from their web shop. Download the title track for free by signing up to their mailing list here.

Photos of both bands here.