British Sea Power Biography
"British Sea Power approach our slot at the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival with the same spirit we approach most things - amazement, glee and raw wonder that they have let us in. Here we are sat on the grass, ringed by the shimmering purple peaks of the San Jacinto mountains and playing on the same bill as New Order, Gang Of Four and The Sexy Magazines. Nice enough, but even all of this pales beside the real point of getting to Coachella - back-door entrance to the polo scene.
"As most people know, the Coachella festival site is also home to the Empire Polo Field. The polo scene has enough filthy, rotten excess and buck-toothed oddity to make rock look like a pre-pubescent boy chorister asking for extra toothpaste. Polo, remember, is home to the Debii Dollar Western Women’s Challenge, the Barbara Sinatra Skins League and, above all, the Jackson Hole Horse Emporium And Hawaiian Iced Tea Tournament And Open House. It is a world in which grown men will pay $8000 for six-chukka membership and all comers can visit the onsite Polo Grill for American classics in a comfortable setting. However, our excitement is short-lived.
"Within minutes, it becomes clear that there will be little polo activity this weekend - that the nearest we will come to the thunder of hoof on turf is the sight of the some game polo ponies gambolling in an adjacent field. It sure is good to see Mr Topspot and Wansdyke Lass as they run and play. But all too soon, we must say au revoir both them and companions Polar Force, Subtle Shandy and Buckaloo Boyzee. There is work to be done and we must move on to more familiar sights and sounds of rock - of Trent Reznor sending back his on-site Humvee because it ain’t got Attila The Hun’s actual bones in the tool-kit, of Ms. Chloe Sevigny erotically detuning Conor Oberst’s backwoods mandolin in the VIP compound and of an excellent set from The Arcade Fire.
"As soon as we get to our exclusive pop-star bungalow, they give us all free massages and beer in a bin. The programme promises much. Not only is there Secret Machines, The Futureheads and mind-bending sister Sapphists Tegan & Sara, but the sculpture park also promises The Lucent Misting Oasis. Can it be true - a lifesize effigy of Liam Gallagher lighting up and crying as he gets homesick for chips and beans in the rowdy Manchester projects? No it can’t - it’s a robot pond made by hippies with nice teeth. So, then, off over the Gobi Tent to see MIA. Also known as Maya Arulpragasam, this young lady is the new queen of big-tune UK dancehall grime and, all across America, her track "Bucky Done Gun" has been the toast of the BSP tour bus. Bouncing in reflective bounty-hunter safari outfit and MC-ing with effervescent joy, she does not disappoint. After MIA’s set, we head over to the Sahara Tent to see the DJ set from Ms. Kittin.
"As we enter the tent, Ms K’s only gone done started playing her own, up-front mix of Bucky Done Gun. Imagine that! Like totally spangled 4AM ravers overjoyed at remembering our own names, we spontaneously thrust our arms aloft. In the heat, it’s almost too much. But then it gets worse. As Ms Kittin bends over the decks, you really, really can’t help noticing that her cleavage is revealed like that of 17th Century courtesan leaning out of a coach to give oranges to the poor. Once, twice, three times she does it. We all start involuntarily rocking back and forth and slapping each other with a force that goes far beyond playfulness. In the nick of time our tour manager finds us and orders us back to our artist cabin.
"We are playing on the Outdoor Theatre stage, after the composed Aesop Rock and before the glorious crawdaddies of The Faint. The crucial stage decoration is completed - a fan or beech leaves around the drums, two pine cones on the keyboard riser and a plastic pheasant on the top of the Marshall stack. Then, an unfortunate reality becomes real. As our soundman attempts to complete the line-check, it becomes clear that no sounds is coming our of the PA. Heart-stoppingly, we are due on stage in one minute and 30 seconds. Our monitor engineer and their stage manager shout at each other like men. Then, miracle of miracles, the PA starts working. We are on.
"Stage time is always compressed terrifyingly. Tonight’s 40 minutes rushes by like 4 minutes of the temporal normal. A crunch of power chords, our singer making garbled reference to California Girls and our guitarist climbing 40 foot into the stage rigging - that is all that remains. Well, that and the hand-annotated plastic sack of garden peat that one young lady has been kind enough to throw on stage.
"In the backstage compound, within minutes we are all drunken and scared at how fast it went. Then, just what we needed, our friend Carlos Of Interpol beams out of the night. We can’t believe it. On the plane over, we were amazed enough to see Carlos featuring in the in-flight entertainment - skilfully taking the role of Joaquin Phoenix in M Night Shyamalan’s 2004 thriller The Village. And now here is in the flesh. Sing hallelujah! He tells us we were great, the dirty fucking liar, and then soon all of time is gone. Not one of us remembers getting from Carlos to the tour bus. But it happened. As we leave the festival site, our keyboardist Eamon wakes momentarily to hear a joyous, spirited whinnying resounding through the night. Goodbye Miss Kittin, goodbye Wansdyke Lass and goodbye Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival."