Review: Sea Power at the Roundhouse

Lively crowd bounce off each other at a gig that showcases the best of the band's three decades

Wednesday, 20th April — By Harry Taylor

Sea Power

Sea Power’s leader singer Scott ‘Yan’ Wilkinson at the gig on Thursday

For a band that has a penchant for unusual gig venues; a tree-house near Oslo, a train station concourse in Kidderminster and a shipyard in Barrow, it was unsurprising that for Sea Power’s tour after the release of their new album Everything Was Forever they came to the former train turntable that now forms Camden Town’s Roundhouse.

Since their last visit they have dropped the “British” part of their name, making the switch last year in response to its colonial overtones. However fans will be assured that it’s the only thing that has changed. Everything Was Forever has hints of what they will have loved about 2003’s The Decline of British Sea Power, and notable follow-ups Do You Like Rock Music, and 2017’s Let the Dancers Inherit the Party.

After being treated to a powerful and haunting performance by support act Penelope Isles, with the unexpected surroundings of climbing plants, Sea Power launched into a mid-album track, Folly, to warm up the room.

Their performance showcased the best of the band’s three decades. Melodic, thoughtful, with the flashes of pacey guitar that shows their roots as one of the most-underrated bands in the mid-00s indie explosion. For half the gig, like a coiled spring, the audience waited, taking in the songs – even through the energetic anthems of Two Fingers and Transmitter, yet to explode into life despite the beat of the guitar. Transmitter is a song that feels it is begging for a festival audience later this year.

It was only when Green Goddess, which got a plethora of plays on BBC Radio 6 Music before the album’s release, got into its stride and dozens erupted, jumping and bouncing off each other. Just in time for classics No Lucifer, Waving Flags and Carillon, leaving their audience spent after a near-two hour set.

After forming in 2000 and riding their way through the height of the 00s indie rock boom, becoming the thinking fans’ band, it can feel like they missed their chance to make it big. But, it depends on your definition of “big”. The packed crowd at the Roundhouse revelled in the performance, and the band has clearly kept its magic. Their fanbase is enough to help fund the album and they only just lost out to Ed Sheeren’s = (equals) in the official UK charts when it was released. Sea Power deserve their moment in the sun, and after a performance like the Roundhouse, it could be yet to come.

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