BPREVIEW: British Sea Power @ Town Hall 27.02.16

British Sea Power

Words by Helen Knott

On Saturday 27th February, British Sea Power appear at the Town Hall. The band is on stage at 8pm with tickets priced at £19.50 – for direct gig info and online ticket sales, click here.Main with web colour bcg - lr

British Sea Power will be accompanied by Jaguar Land Rover Band, a prize-winning full brass orchestra, performing songs from their latest album Sea of Brass. With only two other gigs currently in the diary, the Birmingham Town Hall gig is likely to be a rare chance to see British Sea Power live in 2016 – as the band focuses on writing songs for their ninth studio album.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 13 years since British Sea Power burst onto the music scene with The Decline of British Sea Power; I loved the screechy, post punk, literary weirdness of their debut album.

british-sea-power-album-2015-300x300 - sm, lrYou could argue that British Sea Power have never quite reached the heights of their first LP. But still, the band have continued to attract critical acclaim and a cult following – becoming well known for their odd, slightly gimmicky live performances, featuring props like animal costumes, stuffed birds and artificial plants.

The idea of reimagining their back catalogue with the help of one of music’s most unfashionable ensembles – a brass band – is a pretty unusual one; indie bands tend to lay on the strings when trying to fatten up their sound. The seeds of Sea of Brass grew from an Arts Council funded project, one that British Sea Power developed in to a UK tour in 2014.

The resulting 2015 album, ambitious and filmic in its scope, fits well with British Sea Power’s most recent output – which has included a number of film soundtracks. Check out the lead track from Sea of Brass below:

‘Heavenly Waters’ by British Sea Power

British Sea Power come to the Town Hall (Birmingham) on Saturday 27 February. For direct gig info and online sales, visit http://www.thsh.co.uk/event/british-sea-power-sea-of-brass/THSH

For more on British Sea Power visit http://www.britishseapower.co.uk

For more from Town Hall Symphony Hall, visit http://www.thsh.co.uk/
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INTERVIEW: Ozzy Osborne

Ozzy Osborne interview - 26.06.10 / Paul Ward



Words by Ed King / Pics by Paul Ward

Everybody’s waiting. The media in a corridor upstairs, the fans against the railings downstairs. Gargantuan pillars of security standing stoic in the middle. We were all told to ‘be here by 1pm sharp’ but there’s been queues on the street for over 36 hours. Why? Ozzy Osbourne of course. Birmingham’s infamous bat Ozzy Osborne signing - 26.06.10 / Paul Wardbiter is in back town and it seems half the city has turned out to meet him.

“I was here a few months ago,” says Ozzy,“promoting my new book (I Am Ozzy). Lots of things have changed, new buildings and that. I mean, what’s with that big golf ball in the centre? It’s changed amazingly,” a strong accent blows all stardust from the room, “I mean, I used to get lost when I lived here. But it’s always good to be back in Birmingham. I’d consider moving back here but Sharon likes it over in America.”

Modern Birmingham’s constantly under construction, but how does Ozzy feel about the city he grew up in? “Coming into Birmingham just now I was reflecting back on what it used to be like when I lived at No14 Rose Road (The Birmingham Observer cannot confirm this address),” I think I’ve just worked out why there’s been a delay, “I was sitting there thinking, such a lot has happened in my life. I just could not have planned this. It’s unbelievable.” A fair description of over 18 albums selling millions worldwide. Ozzy grins, “42 years later and I’m still playing the Town Hall.”Ozzy Osborne signing - 26.06.10 / Paul Ward

Ozzy is back on the road promoting his 10th solo studio album, Scream, released in April this year. 18 months long and internationally wide, Scream tours across Europe, America and Japan. During a year and half of globetrotting performances how does Ozzy plan to stay sane?

“Not by drinking that’s for sure,” Ozzy is very candid about his alcoholism and recovery, “I haven’t drunk for a long time now, about 7-8 years. If I was drinking I don’t think I’d make it a week.” Judging by the hype surrounding today I’m not sure Ozzy’s management team will make it 18 months without. “I’m quite a straight laced guy nowadays.”

So with no bats on stage what can we expect from the Scream album and tour? “Heavy. Very heavy. You know, real Rock. It reminds me of my Sabbath days,” many reviews echo the same, “and some of my early solo stuff. But it was unintentional, you know, not a conscious decision.”

Conscious or not it’s been three years since his last album, Black Rain. Is Ozzy happy with his latest release? “I’m never happy. About a week after Scream got released I’m thinking why did I put that there? Why didn’t I change Ozzy Osborne interview - 26.06.10 / Paul Wardthat track?” So the artist still struggles even four decades on, doesn’t Ozzy feel good enough yet? ”That’s for the fans to tell me. What I’m good at is making an album and then demolishing it, you know. If I get a good review I kind of raise one eyebrow. What I have to do now is let go.”

Scream is the first Ozzy solo release since the mid eighties without longstanding guitarist Zack Wylde, cited as the most ‘endearing’ replacement since Ozzy’s original guitarist Randy Rhoades was killed in a plane accident in 1982. How does Ozzy find working with the new line up?

“Great. Gus is really, really good,” Gus G, aka Kostas Karamitroudis from Greek power metal band Firewind, “I’ve got high hopes for him. I mean, guitarists can be great but then you’ve got to find out if you can live with them.” A final grin as Ozzy’s publicist points to his watch, “we’re on the road for 18 months… I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

Scream, Ozzy Osbourne’s 10th studio solo album, was released in April 2010. For more information about the album and worldwide tour visit www.ozzy.com