EDGE Goes 90s: Ocean Colour Scene bring Britpop to the Guildhall

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Coinciding with the special nineties issue of The Edge, it just so happens that one of the prominent Britpop bands, Ocean Colour Scene are playing the Guildhall in Southampton. Ocean Colour scene (OCS) are touring to support a deluxe re-issue of their seminal second album Moseley Shoals, 15 years since it was first released. This is OCS most well known album and one of the best albums to come from the nineties with its energetic britpop/rock overtones and its psychedelic undertones. As such they are playing the whole album from start to finish.

Having grown up with OCS I was looking forward to hearing the band for the first time. Things kicked off to a rocking start with ‘The Riverboat Song’ getting everyone pumped up and this was followed by ‘The Day We Caught The Train’, which everyone sang the words and the crowd held their own in singing the “oohhh ohhh la la” in the chorus. The upbeat ‘Circles’ rounded off a good start. However, the trouble with playing an album in its entirety is that some tracks aren’t suited for live performances or just album filler. This meant that except for ’40 Past Midnight’ the set drifted in the middle and it began to lose the attention of the crowd. Nevertheless, this was clawed back with great renditions of ‘You’ve Got It Bad’ and the almost 8 minute epic ‘Get Away’.

By 10 o’clock OCS had played the whole album but they had a 10 minute interval before they were due to return. However, a significant number of people left before OCS came back to finish off their set in style. They finished the evening by playing a selection of songs from their back catalogue as well as songs from their album ‘Saturday’ released last year. ‘Magic Carpet Days’, from ‘Saturday’, reignited proceedings and shows OCS still have the ability to write good songs which are inherently born from their original sound. A few more new tracks including the title track of the new album and ‘Old Pair Of Jeans’ were enticing enough for me to check out their new album due to their live performance.

The set was rounded off by three classic OCS tracks from the 1997 album Marching Already: ‘Better Day’, ‘Travellers Tune’ and ‘Hundred Mile City’, which highlights how many great songs they have actually released. Having stormed the stage with the last three tracks, the band returned to play the fans favourite ‘ Robin Hood’ and finished of the night with a rocking cover of The Beatles ‘Day Tripper’.

OCS gave an excellent performance, despite a minor cock-up by frontman Simon Fowler during the intro to one of the songs. They certainly haven’t lost any of their style and songcraft and still give as good as they get. Having sold out venues in places such as Leeds, their popularity still remains and I would recommend checking them out before their tour ends.

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