Review: Brass adds power to a triumphant performance

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British Sea Power’s Sea of Brass, Warwick Arts Centre, Friday, 7 November.

British Sea Power are known as a band who like to do things a little differently and nobody would accuse them of playing for safe in their latest project.

The starting point for it all was this - take some goodies from the BSP back catalogue, add new arrangements for a fully-fledged brass band to join them on stage and see if that turns up something interesting.

It certainly does, if the standing ovation at the end of this Coventry leg of their national tour is anything to go by. The Jaguar Land Rover brass band, representing the locality, blew their heads off, musical director Peter Wraight meshed the whole thing together superbly and BSP themselves were allowed the space to give full rein to those beguiling songs.

The addition of the full brass band added unexpected depth and poignancy to BSP songs such as ‘The Great Skua’ and ‘Lately’ and took stompers like ‘Machineries of Joy’ and ‘Lights out for Darker Skies’ to giddy new heights.

It was all so beautifully presented too, a dazzling tableau full of gleaming instruments, BSP’s usual expanse of foliage and pools of swirling light that looked almost good enough to hang on a Christmas tree.

Rarely have I seen a stage that looked and sounded just so right. A triumph.

Rating: 9/10

Barbara Goulden