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Two Fingers to the landlord: Sea Power at The Leadmill

The literate indie rockers return to Sheffield buoyed by their best record in years.

21 April 2022 at
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Jack Buckley.

Watching the band formerly known as British Sea Power live is a bit like following a football team: the same people have been turning up for 20 years, they know what to chant when, and the week's performance is hotly debated in the pub afterwards. Fortunately the group's return to Sheffield after two years finds them enjoying a run of good form, buoyed by the critical acclaim that greeted new record Everything Was Forever and having recently added a BAFTA to the trophy cabinet.

The motorik-march of opener 'Machineries Of Joy' and the euphoric stomp of 'It Ended on an Oily Stage' felt of a piece with soaring new single 'Two Fingers', which finds principle singer Yan offering "Two fingers for the dead, two fingers for the living" (and tonight he could have added The Leadmill's landlord to the rollcall).

A slightly Jean-Michel Jarre interlude from Phil Sumner's keys led into a beautifully cathartic 'Cleaning Out The Rooms' – one of those Hamilton songs so fragile it seems to dissolve on contact with air. The elder Wilkinson's voice remained semi-submerged in the mix throughout the night, occasionally surfacing above the beautiful noise generated by guitarist Noble and violist Abi Fry.

The brothers swapped vocal duties throughout punchy new 'Doppelgänger' before sliding into the shimmering 'Green Goddess'. The atmosphere kicked up a notch with old classic 'No Lucifer', which centres around a raucous reference to eighties British wrestler Big Daddy, natch. A particularly evocative 'Great Skua' closed out normal time before an encore of 'Waving Flags', a newly poignant pro-immigration anthem that sees Yan welcoming east European arrivals from "across the Carpathians." Closer 'Remember Me' still sounds as fresh as the day it came out, and the frenzy it sparked in The Leadmill was a timely reminder of why we can't lose this special venue.

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