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SXSW 2008 has ended
Sunday, March 16 • 1:00am - 1:30am
British Sea Power

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Do you like rock music? Most probably, yes. It’s the most expressive medium in human history and provides undemanding employment for many thousands. Rock music easily encompasses both “Wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom!” and the Big Bang theory. Suddenly there’s a nice big noise. This noise makes you feel like you can say something - and that people might listen. You can say anything really - but, best of all, something no one’s said before. This is rock music and this is the third album from British Sea Power. Do You Like Rock Music? was made in Montreal, the Czech Republic and Fort Tregantle - a 19th Century fortification in Cornwall, on England’s south-west coast. It was recorded by a band unafraid to embrace the far poles of arts and entertainment. BSP have toured with and been praised by David Bowie, The Flaming Lips, Lou Reed, Radiohead and Jarvis Cocker. But they’ve also been invited to play in celebration of the life and times of Sir John Betjeman, the late UK Poet Laureate, born in 1906. And they’ve played shows with The Copper Family, a clan of Sussex folk singers who’ve been going for two hundred years. Do You Like Rock Music? is the album on which British Sea Power’s long game comes to a compelling conclusion. British Sea Power, of course, admire Black Francis. While recording by the forests of the Krivoklatsko Biosphere Reserve, they were lucky enough to see a Black Woodpecker. This album takes in all points between. Lyrical themes include floods on Canvey Island, economic migrants, Slavia Prague FC and the apocalypse - plus Sodom, the Great Skua and the wrestler born Shirley Crabtree and known as Big Daddy. The Great Skua is a piratical sea bird, also known as the Bonxie. Here it provides the title for a gorgeous sweep of instrumental music - one strand in an album that moves from the outrageous, six-minute rock fantasia of ‘Lights Out For Darker Skies’ to the beauteous indie-rock torch-song of ‘No Need To Cry.’ The song ‘Waving Flags’ - a stirring tribute to Polish plumbers and groundbreaking nudist Hedy Lamarr - is perhaps the band’s most cogent, powerful moment yet. This is rock music as it should be, both ridiculous and profound - providing for the aching needs of both the higher and lower self. British Sea Power formed in 2000. They released their first record in 2001, on their own Golden Chariot label. But it was the band’s live performances that defined their first years. There were riotous shows in remarkable surroundings. They played by the sea on the Scilly Isles, underground in a Cornish slate mine and at the Betjeman Centenary Gala - the latter alongside Hugh Grant, Nick Cave and The Prince Of Wales. When BSP played the 2002 Reading Festival, Rollingstone.com seemed to say the rest of the weekend’s entire bill paled before BSP: “Fuck this puerile drivel, we’re going to see British Sea Power... British Sea Power rule.” Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis came to see BSP and signed them on the spot. The band’s debut album, The Decline Of British Sea Power, was released in 2003. Confidently contradicting its title, the album was an audacious jamwagon that swung abruptly from 30-second choral swoons to the 13-minute ‘Lately.’ There was touring from St. Petersburg to San Francisco, from Cornwall to Coachella. In 2004, Time Out made BSP Live Band Of The Year at their annual awards. In 2005, BSP released their second album, Open Season. It was a more streamlined, graceful record, but again the press located strength in depth. “A marvellous album,” reported The Guardian. “A triumphant lesson in gracefully sweeping toward the mainstream with your imagination and mystery intact.” The NME said the album was, “Wonderful... breathes with originality, poise and grace.” Now British Sea Power unveil their finest hour. Do You Like Rock Music? was recorded around the world - with Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire), Efrim Menuck (God Speed You! Black Emperor) and Graham Sutton (Jarvis Cocker, Bark Psychosis). It’s also an album that looks the world squarely in the eye. “It’s our version of Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde,” says BSP guitarist Martin Noble. “It’s about cherry wood and Kevlar - about the good and the bad. There are good reasons for anxiety at the moment - but if we’re in danger let’s address the danger with optimism, loud distorted chords and the knowledge that we’re at least trying. That’s rock music, isn’t it?” Do you like rock music? Of course you do. It’s still here. And, on this evidence, has no reason to go away.
http://2008.sxsw.com/music/showcases/band/72051.html

Sunday March 16, 2008 1:00am - 1:30am
Maggie Mae's Rooftop 323 E 6th St

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