I’ve seen a LOT of brilliant British Sea Power gigs, but last at Koko was one of the very best. Amidst the anthemic tunes, hymns to libraries and protest, odes to nature, and celebration of bicycles, there was also a birthday cake launched into the crowd, and two bears dancing in the middle of the most-pit, along with the usual foliage adorned stage. The night ended with the band variously stage diving and leading the moves to Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’. Heaven.
Tredegar House in Newport is where the National Trust are experimenting with allowing visitors to touch and feel history, rather than pointing from behind a rope. As it stands, I would wager that Tredegar House is the only place in Britain where in a single morning one can be tutored in the art of brushing up a top-hat, put on a shadow puppet show, study Elizabethan art, dress up as 1920’s housemaid, enjoy Elizabethan portraiture and sit down to dinner with a Russian princess.
A week after enjoying To Kill A King’s end of tour blow-out at Islington Assembly Hall, I finally have some time to properly get to know their new album. It’s dark and snowing in Paris and climate change has helped swell the Seine to nearly bank-bursting proportions, so Welcome To The Spiritual Dark Age’s twelve tracks all feel appropriate. Yet the band’s live performance of the record was full of life and joy. Maybe they are just the kind of band who get pleasure out of singing about melancholy – not unlike my eternal favourites, Elbow.