Review: Ocean Colour Scene

CHRIS BANNON only wishes he had taken his Dad along to see the band Noel Gallagher nurtured.

Ocean Colour Scene The Corn Exchange

Sunday 28th February, 8.00 at The Corn Exchange. £22.50. 

The only undergrads likely to have heard of Ocean Colour Scene will have to have fairly cool parents, steering them away from Spice Girls and onto brit pop instead.  In fact, this was the first gig my Dad was jealous of me going to!

Ocean Colour Scene formed in 1990 releasing their self-titled debut in 1992.  It had little success, failing to break the top 40.  In 1995 Noel Gallagher having heard their demo tape took them under his wing, signing them as their support for Oasis’s tour – Ocean Colour Scene’s major breakthrough, signing to MCA Records and then releasing number 2 album Moseley Shoals the following year.  7 albums have been released since, with notably Marchin’ Already reaching number 1 in 1997 and Saturday being released in February this year, prior to their tour.

Enough background. For most touring bands presenting a set of golden oldies and very little recent material would be a fault, but for Ocean Colour Scene it was spot on.  They were in their prime after Marchin’ Already.  The majority of the listeners would have paid to see them perform their hits, not their latest songs (in fact many there may not have heard the newer material). 

The lighting was far better than for any of the bands I’ve seen this term.  Fourth song The Circle was a Fountain of Youth for the crowd, with a few fans raised onto someone’s shoulders and the makings of a fight at the front.  They produced a very cohesive performance with highlights including Get Blown Away and Go to the Sea.  Although not one of their classics, the latter contained an epic 2 minute guitar solo that any rock star would have been proud of.   Hundred Mile City brought the best reaction from the crowd, my mate nearly deafening me as he sang along.

It was not just the band that made the night.  One guy sitting near us yelled “Play Riverboat Song or fuck off!” incessantly after they walked off the stage.  Real good way to bring on an encore.  They still came back though for Simon Fowler to play a superb solo of Robin Hood, Riverboat Song and finally The Day We Caught the Train concluded the set with the biggest sing-along of the night.

Although the £22.50 price tag may have proved a tad expensive for student fans, Ocean Colour Scene showed no signs of age, they produced a performance they should have been proud of in their prime.  Next time they play, I am going to invite my Dad along.