Who: British Sea Power Where: Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London With: London Bulgarian Choir When: 16th August Photos: Meg Mackay In the run up to the gig I was eagerly anticipating the set by the London Bulgarian Choir. I was intrigued... Who were they? Surely they couldn't actually be a Bulgarian choir? Surely they must just be named a little funny a la the Manchester Orchestra... Well after about 20 mins of being chanted and warlbled at by said choir, it became increasingly clear that British Sea Power's support act WAS going to simply be a Bulgarian Choir in London in the way that Manchester Orchestra are a classical music collective from the North West of England rather than being Atlanta's finest alt-rockers... a little disappointing really... A little deflated from this we decided to go on a bit of a wander around the stunning Regent's Park Open Air Theatre grounds. As dusk fell about 8.45 we returned to our allocated seats and were all set for the main event. When British Sea Power hobbled their way onto the stage looking like extras from a production of the Great Gatsby. Their epic soaring sound sat perfectly with the scenes of grandeur that are Regent's Park's Open Air Theatre. It was almost cinematic at times. However the Guardian wielding Gestapo that were the open Air Theatre's security were determined to have their moment in the spotlight too as they enforced the strict no mobiles, no standing, no photography (even, seemingly with an official photo pass) rules that are standard fare to the regular theatre-going audience member. But, alas, this was no regular night at the Open Air Theatre. Indeed you get the impression that it wasn't really geared up for what was about to happen. Someone had neglected to tell the organisers about who British Sea Power are. By the time the band had flown through their first few numbers the security seemed pretty much on top of things and were managing to keep the BSP Ultras in check. Once the band launched into 'Lights Out For Darker Skies' and began using the on-stage tree branches as part of their set the place went up. By the fourthsong of the evening there was some full out dancing in the stalls and the security became more concerned with preventing revellers from invading the stage. The set was peppered with hits from last year's 'Do You Like Rock Music?' album and tracks such as 'Canvey Island' amongst others saw the loyal Ultras in full out moshing mode. By this point even my camera-carrying companion managed to fire off some shots without getting any more than a serious talking to. As the set wore on BSP hit top form which included some (really rather impressive) simultaneous trumpet and keyboard action! As with their recent Glastonbury set the band were rejoined onstage by the London Bulgarian Choir who provided backing vocals on a few numbers. The highlight of the evening for me was a dedication to Simon and Sally who had written to the band saying that they had just got married in London two days previous and were due to set off on their honeymoon before they found out about the show. As loyal BSP fanatics they couldn't miss the show and had postponed the honeymoon in order to be there. The band ripped through an awesome version of 'No Lucifer' in tribute to them with the LBC on backing vocals. As great as this song was I was however left thinking that having the LBC on stage for that song was a little OTT. Much akin to having Picasso round to break out the emulsion and paint your bathroom as all they were doing was some football chanting! "Easy! Easy! Easy!" Anyway following this the band closed with 'Waving Flags' which roused everyone and eventually I was won over by the London Bulgarian Choir whose presence on-stage really did lift the song. It was something quite special. Now, it wouldn't quite be a British Sea Power review without at least a passing mention of Ursine Ultra (the 10-foot bear who occasionally makes an appearance at live shows). Rather pleasingly he was in town at Regent's Park appearing out of the bushes during the encore and dancing his way through the masses and up onto the stage to wig out with the band whilst the majority of the crowd waved tree branches in appreciation. It was a truly memorable close to a really rather special show. As a side note, I'm fairly certain inside Ursine Ultra was none other than Gavin and Stacey star Matthew Horne who had enjoyed the show from two rows in front of me only to mysteriously disappear just before the encore... You do the maths...