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Sea Power, Sheffield Leadmill. 13th February 2024

I’m in Sheffield tonight, honestly it’s been a bit of a mission to get here in the dense fog that I couldn’t see more than 10ft in. I could’ve seen Sea Power last week in sunny Manchester, but I was busy having my internal organs rearranged by Frank Carter. So instead I find myself in The Leadmill. On my last visit here for Blood Red Shoes, we were in the smaller room, but it’s a sold out big room that greets Sea Power tonight, for a run through of their 2008 album Do You Like Rock Music. I’ve only seen them a few times before, but they really are a band you have to get in a room with to appreciate. I don’t know if it’s the rush here, but it takes me well in to ‘Lights Out For Darker Skies’ to relax and get into it. The lad next to me wakes up too,  jumping on the spot with the beat as it builds like something from Arcade Fire. The “easy easy” chants of ‘No Lucifer’ then begin and The Leadmill gets more animated. Only a little though. Maybe it’s the warm glowing lightbulbs hanging from the stage or the customary tree branches dotted about that’s keeping everyone chilled and sedate. ‘Waving Flags’ will put pay to that though. Arms are up, waving, no flags just lots of swaying. I can’t see a thing but that doesn’t matter. They sound massive in here and The Leadmill sings beautifully. There’s some lovely hand percussion from a pack near the front on ‘Canvey Island’ and although listening to this album this week to remind myself of it, and thinking it’s not my favourite of theirs , it’s songs like this that really lift it, it sounds glorious live. As does ‘Down on the Ground’ which delves the depths of euphoric indie pop. We’re half way through, guitars are changed, but I’m feeling a bit tired, which isn’t a good sign. It’s bloody warm in here, so water is grabbed as they smash through ‘A Trip Out’. On returning, instead of fighting my way back into the scrum, I opt for the wings. There’s not really a bad view in here. I wish more venues were like this.  A hush descends for ‘The Great Skua’. This is by far my highlight. It’s like GY!BE on a warm summers day. As the vocal harmonies peak in its finale, I feel like I could float away. The rest of the album could pass me by, but it doesn’t thanks to the wigout that closes ‘Atom’. Guitars feed back, the violin hums over the top as the drums hold everything together and an air raid siren is rhythmically wound. Sounds nuts right? It’s brilliant. As the Belle and Sebastian like ‘Open the Door’ brings Do You Like Rock Music to a close, I’m starting to drift again. But they come back for a few more as is the tradition with these album in full gigs. ‘Cleaning Out the Rooms’ has a wistful air of Mercury Rev, that goes nicely with a gentle breeze that I’m getting from somewhere. This is an encore though, we need some clout, we need ‘Transmitter’. It’s not bombastic, but certainly compared to everything else we’ve heard tonight, it’s got genuine power. I’m wide awake and bouncing. Now we’ve got here, it’s time to lock in to the bangers. ‘Two Fingers’ picks up the baton effortlessly. Simple singalong lyrics, guitar hero solos, it’s bloody good fun. The beautiful ‘Fire Escape in the Sea’ momentarily slows things down with its melodic melancholia, before we all sing happy birthday to Scott and they launch into ‘Remember Me’ and a dignified mosh pit sparks up. We’re at the business end and the band are clearly loving it, particularly Scott who hushes us as he indulges in “a birthday solo”. It needs a big finish and a mash up of ‘Carrion’ and ‘All In It’ delivers the celebratory tone. “We’re all in it and we close our eyes”. Utterly sublime. I wish I could close my eyes, but I’ll need them wide open for the foggy drive back to Manchester. Still, well worth the trip.


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