Circus…Nah, We Have British Sea Power

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British Sea Power, Rosebuds
Tralf Music Hall, Buffalo, NY – 05.17.08
Filter Grade: 92%
by April S. Engram | 05.21.2008

(Gallery Below)

Who knew that a simple venture to see Rosebuds and British Sea Power at Buffalo’s Tralf Music Hall would result in an impromptu circus act including: a rubix cube master, a soccer ball, the tossing of audience members and acrobatics…all future concerts will pale in comparison.

North Carolina’s Rosebuds, Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp, sharpened their pop melodies with their 2007 release Night of the Furies and created an album full of rocking, dance goodies that will make the most uncoordinated soul forget their two left feet and shake their asses. With just a guitar, keyboard and drums the duo (turned trio while touring) managed to create a loud wall of sound. The feel good tunes was just the “pick me up” the evening needed as onlookers sat on the floor in front of the stage and bopped their heads to Rosebud’s infectious, melodic sounds; but never fear, they didn’t stay seated for long. Crisp beckoned everyone to move in closer, get up and dance; the audience did just that.

Rosebuds fans were in the crowd and sang along with Howard and Crisp and danced continuously. Crisp even jumped into the crowd, gave Hamilton of British Sea Power a bear hug, greeted the first couple of rows of people, and returned to her keyboard as Howard looked on and smiled. Their infectious, warm personality and music made the show all the more enjoyable and the fan favorites were “Cemetery Lawns,” Boxcar,” and “Hold Hands and Fight.” For The Rosebuds’ grand finale—where Crisp invited people to jump on stage and dance—was their upbeat “Get Up Get Out.” However, before Rosebuds were through with the song they brought on the stage their merchandise/photographer extraordinaire, Tim the rubix cube master who solved the jumbled puzzle in a few minutes. The crowd cheered, all members of The Rosebuds returned to their instruments and finished in style, chanting the chorus to British Sea Power’s “No Lucifer” to close with a bang. All of this excitement got the crowd ready for British Sea Power.

The crowd packed the front of the stage as the band: Yan (bass, guitar), and Hamilton (bass, guitar) switched between vocals and instruments, Noble (lead guitar), Wood (drums), Abi Fry (viola, backing vocals) and Phil Sumner (cornet, keyboards); walked out, immediately picked up their instruments and with no hesitation leapt into “Atom” from their latest release Do You Like Rock Music?. As fans happily sang along and danced feverishly, the crowd pleaser was the sweeping track “No Lucifer.” A fan shouted to another if he only heard that song this night, he would’ve been satisfied, that’s how good British Sea Power sounded. The band did not walk off the stage for their encore, they plowed through the last tracks, “St. Louis,” “A Rock,” and “Stop Wasting My Time.” And it is with the last song that the circus act came full circle.

As everyone played on, Noble jumped off the stage, stood on a chair in the back of the crowd when Tim of the Rosebuds pulled out a soccer ball and tossed it at Noble who head butted it into the crowd. Then the audience members jumped in, throwing the ball to Noble then Yan who kept the ball afloat. Noble then dropped his guitar on stage, placed his shoes on his hand, jumped back into crowd and proceeded to do a handstand. While Noble was having fun with the audience, all members from the Rosebuds climbed on stage, Crisp grabbed Noble’s guitar, Howard danced on stage and waved a lamp above his head while Hamilton tried to jump on Yan’s shoulders and the two fell to the floor, with Hamilton still playing his bass. But the song was not over yet, Noble grabbed an audience member and carried him to the stage then followed Hamilton’s lead and successfully climbed on the shoulders of Rosebud’s singer Howard. And Yan ended it all with a handstand on stage as Fry quietly put her viola away.

After all of the excitement British Sea Power waved farewell to the ecstatic crowd and closed the night. After it all finally quieted down the sound guy sarcastically shouted, “what, no encore,” how could they top that?

British Sea Power’s Set List:

Atom
Carrion
Oh Larsen B
Down On The Ground
Blackout
Waving Flags
The Great Skua
Canvey island
Lights Out For Darker Skies
Fear of Drowning
A Trip Out
No Lucifer
Remember Me
St. Louis
A Rock
Stop Wasting My Time

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DCs Le Loup in Action

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Le Loup
Bug Jar, Rochester, NY – 05.03.08
Filter Grade: 88%
Hard rocking septet Le Loup ended their two-month-long tour in Rochester, NY’s Bug Jar. Don’t let the name fool you, not from France—as some ask upon hearing the name—the band hails from Washington, D.C.; the only European addition to this outfit is the occasional French horn. Meaning “fear not,” the band’s name was inspired by the artwork of James Hampton and after one year of solo efforts, just two years after the creation of Le Loup, Simkoff and the band of musicians he corralled are garnering a reputation for excellent, kinetic live shows. And this night, Le Loup definitely closed this tour with a loud and explosive bang.

A sizable crowd gathered at the Bug Jar to see what this D.C. band was capable of and the spectators were in for a good show. Members of Le Loup were scattered about the bar/club, taking in the sounds of the opening bands or enjoying a quiet drink till finally the moment came for them all to close the night. Sam Simkoff (Banjo, Keyboards, Lead Vocals), Christian Ervin (Computer, Guitar), Mike Ferguson (Guitar, Vocals), Nicole Keenan (Keyboards, French Horn, Vocals), Dan Ryan (Bass, Percussion, Vocals), Robert Sahm (Drums, Percussion, Vocals), May Tabol (Guitar, Vocals), and Jim Thomson (Guitar, Vocals) all managed to fit themselves and their gear on stage and leapt into their set.

Promoting their debut The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly—the title is also derived from a work by Hampton—Le Loup effortlessly blends their countless instruments (three electric guitars, one bass, a banjo, keyboards, French horn, drums, tambourines, drum machine and pedals) to create an electro-experimental sound that includes vocalized harmonies, hand claps, crunchy and airy guitars and even a drumstick banged on a water jug. That’s right, a jug; but somehow Le Loup makes it all meld perfectly together and creates a unique ethereal wave of music that rises and falls, complementing Simkoff’s vocal stylings.

Simkoff put on a passionate performance and could not stand still for the entire set as he feverishly danced and leaned into his mic. Like Simkoff, two audience members also had “dance fever” though their motivation may not have only been influenced by the music as they violently threw their bodies about for the entire performance. At times their “dancing” proved distracting to the performance taking place on the stage but Le Loup’s beautiful set drifted us away from those two. The band played from their debut as well as some unreleased songs and shelled out a great show as they cruised through such songs as, “Sea Took Me,” “To The Stars! To the Night!,” “We are Gods! We are Wolves!,” and “Outside of This Car, the End of the World.”

Le Loup closed the evening with the lengthy “I Had a Dream I Died,” Simkoff was not quite ready to end the song as he motioned to his band mates “one more.” He sang the last few words before pointing his finger in the air again and said, “one more” then he was ready to end the set. Simply listening to Le Loup’s fantastic debut does not do them justice, they are damn good live! The seven person strong band wonderfully balances quiet, emotive sounds with explosive crescendos that will pull at the heart strings and make you want to dance simultaneously.

“Tokyo Police Club!”

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