Ocean Colour Scene @ Birmingham Academy, 26th February 2011

Ocean Colour Scene

I’m duty bound to declare an interest with this gig in that before me I have a 1995/6 demo tape of Moseley Shoals prior to producer Brendan Lynch sprinkling on the career-changing fairy dust.

I was invited to hear the play backs and still shiver at the harmonies on ‘Day We Caught The Train.’ Happy days. So, what could be better than writing this review sipping an expresso in the Venetian Carnivale sunshine? Well, perhaps that tot of absinthe that twenty seconds later had me talking personally to Titian and Canaletto. Whatever.

The Lines

The O2 is utterly rammed and the balcony is heaving as local young heroes, The Lines, get a generous reception for their sometimes asymmetric garage psychedelia that climaxed with orgiastic angry bass thunder/ percussion. Very promising. Make a note.

Ocean Colour Scene

An approximate Planet Pogo mayhem ensues as Steve Craddock ignites the O2 with weapons-grade grunting riff intros to ‘Riverboat Song’. A contemplative Simon Fowler looks about with a demure sang-froid. Or perhaps it’s because he doesn’t speak French. How those fifteen years have flown by with Andy Bennett now providing the bed-rock and roll guitar rhythm platform for Craddock’s super-shaded pyrotechnics whilst Dan Sealey’s devilishly nurtured bass attacks and delightful keyboards embellish many songs in a way seldom heard before. Drummer, Oscar Harrison, as ever, cooler than the ice-box in Mr. Frostie’s fridge delivers Kalashnikov accurate lethal beats.

Ocean Colour Scene

At times, Fowler’s vocals seem somewhat redundant given that the O2’s choral magnificence often overwhelms the PA. He graciously holds the mic-stand crowd side and lets them get on with it. The album set scorches on with boisterous, collective celebration with name-checks for haunts of yester-year such as The Barrel Organ, Irish Center and the woefully lost Jug Of Ale. With the climactic, psyche bludgeoning ‘Get Away’ still ringing in our ears, the band pop off for a ten minute breather.

Part Two is a super-charged, roller-coaster memory lane medley of treasures old and more recent. And I’ll be damned if I hadn’t forgotten what would be the inevitable final encore blastfest! Yes, ‘Day Tripper’. A shower of throw-away gift plectrums punctuate the fug above the mosh-pit as fare ye wells and salutations abound. Fowler name-checks manager, Chris Craddock, who hocked the family silver to finance their early days. And, it was 20 years ago or so, that journalist, Mike Davis, began championing the band from fledgling Fanatics to eventual Ocean Colour Scene arena fillers. And lastly, for the Blues fans. Well, didn’t the next morning bring the start to a most exquisite of Magic Carpet Days imaginable?

Ocean Colour Scene

Setlist: Moseley Shoals – Riverboat Song, Day We Caught The Train, Circle, Lining Your Pockets, Fleeting Mind, 40 Past Midnight, It’s My Shadow, Policemen & Pirates, The Down Stream, You’ve Got It Bad, Get Away.

Medley set: Magic Carpet Days, Saturday, Get Blown Away, Old Pair of Jeans, Profit In Peace, Better Day, Traveller’s Tune, 1000 Mile High City.

Encores: Robin Hood, Song of a Baker, Day Tripper.

Review – John Kennedy
Photos – John Colson

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