Seafood @ ULU, London, 14th October 2004

Seafood are, in my humble opinion, one of Britain’s best bands. And also one of the most underrated. Two years ago Seafood played a sold out Camden Electric Ballroom, supported by a little known outfit called Snow Patrol. With neither band changing much in that time, one has been catapulted into the indie premier league, the other has, on this comeback tour, played to a host of curious individuals in half filled dingy venues. In a musical culture where bands get blown out of all proportion before even releasing an album (The Killers, Razorlight, and anything remotely connected to the Pete Doherty soap opera), the fact that Seafood have released three glorious LPs to minimal recognition, means they are indeed Britain’s best kept secret. This year has not been the easiest for the band, with lead singer David Lines’ lung collapse resulting in hospitalisation and a complete cancellation of any spring dates threatened the end. Nevertheless, the mood in a comfortably full ULU is one of quiet but eager anticipation.

As The Cry Flows album opener, I Dreamt I Ruled The Sun, cracks things off, with Caroline’s haunting vocals breaking through the soft guitars and steady drumbeat, sounding more grandiose live than it does on the album. The light, catchy, gentile Summer Falls plays, before This Is Not An Exit, arguably the highpoint of their debut album, gets the crowd going. Heat Walks Against Me is textbook Seafood, starting slowly and developing gradually into a full on guitar thrash.

‘Oldie but a goodie’ Western Battle and its awesomely catchy chorus sends the crowd into a jumping and dancing frenzy, sounding as addictively sing-a-long to as any slice of indie-pop ever has. Broken Promises and Awkward Ghost highlight the bands more folky, quieter influences, whilst new single Sleepover probably represents the most accomplished musical work the band have done, and though subsequent weeks showed it to make not an iota of impact in the musical world, tonight sounds like the chart breaking hit Seafood have threatened for a while.

An acoustic version of Cloaking goes down a storm with the crowd faithful, but the show is stolen by the duo of In This Light Will You Fight Me and Porchlight. Expansive epic works of developing guitars leave the audience in awe, with David using a drumstick and his guitar as a DIY violin. Both live favourites, both highlights on CD, the final chords of the latter finishes the set, as an overzealous stage manager imposes the 11.00 curfew with a satisfied grin.

By any fans account, a resounding and promising display. Whether the band ever gain their much deserved success or not, Seafood nevertheless remain a national music treasure. People are stupid.

Stuart Davey