Pop review

Ocean Colour Scene
St George's Hall, Bradford

Ocean Colour Scene stroll on stage in an assortment of greyish clothes and make the most polite sound that has ever been produced by a wall of Marshall amplifiers. It's surprisingly pleasant to hear tunes such as The Circle and Better Day. After all, they're well-written pop songs and sung well. Something, however, is jarring and it's hard to figure out what.

Perhaps it is the large, druggy projection that swirls hypnotically across the back of the stage. This is presumably ironic, given that Ocean Colour Scene are the least psychedelic band to emerge from the Midlands since the Electric Light Orchestra. Or perhaps it's the rabid, inflamed passion of the crowd, who all seem to think they're watching the Clash circa 1977. Maybe it's a combination of both.

Either way, the nice-looking chaps on stage seem pleased by the rock'n'roll atmosphere they are inexplicably generating, and singer Simon Fowler even goes so far as to lift a can of lager at us and mumble something into the microphone.

The roars of approval grow more and more frenzied as the music becomes more and more innocuous. The moddish white soul of In My Field tries to evoke the Who but quickly dissolves into tedious repetition, any potential energy stifled by an endlessly recurring guitar noodle and the four-square drumming of Oscar Harrison. Profit in Peace gets the crowd waving their lighters in the air, but while the recorded version had a bit of subtlety, here it's hammered into the ground with almost grim determination.

The band constantly evoke the sound of other artists while always managing to leave out something vital. So we get Thin Lizzy without the testosterone, the Jam without the urban anger, Sheryl Crow without Sheryl Crow. But the crowd simply do not care. Without doing anything extraordinary, this very average band have managed to inspire love, devotion and the belief that they are doing something exciting. Perhaps, in this respect, they are strangely brilliant after all.

At the Royal Centre, Nottingham (0115-989 5555), tomorrow, then touring.


James Griffiths

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Ocean Colour Scene

Astoria, London

Caroline Sullivan

16, Mar, 2000 @12:00 AM

Article image
Ocean Colour Scene – review

It's an enviable bond Ocean Colour Scene have established with their fans, but an opening 40 minutes of new material is mercilessly dull, writes Malcolm Jack

Malcolm Jack

27, Feb, 2013 @4:34 PM

Article image
CD: Ocean Colour Scene, On the Leyline

(Moseley Shoals)

Jude Rogers

27, Apr, 2007 @10:59 PM

Article image
Ocean Colour Scene: the band whose chief crime was being too normal
Nostalgia aside, 20 years since the release of Moseley Shoals seems an apt time to undo years of undeserved flak and celebrate this hardy indie rock group

Peter Beech

20, Apr, 2016 @2:42 PM

Why Ocean Colour's Scene's music has become immortal, why a TV Sista act isn't quite what it seems, and why Glasto went retro

This week Caroline Sullivan reveals why Ocean Colour's Scene's music has become immortal, why a TV Sista act isn't quite what it seems, and why Glasto went retro.

Caroline Sullivan

08, Jul, 2003 @2:44 PM

Article image
Why Radiohead are rubbish, Justin Timberlake isn't a sex god, and Ocean Colour Scene might be good after all

As Radiohead pick up five NME nominations, Caroline Sullivan reckons it has more to do with their politics than their music. Plus: why Justin Timberlake isn't a sex god, and Ocean Colour Scene might be good after all.

28, Jan, 2004 @6:12 PM

Article image
No 350: The Rivers

New band of the day: Today's new band sound a bit like hyperactive dad-rockers: Ocean Colour Scene after ingesting a few too many Fratellis

Paul Lester

15, Jul, 2008 @2:51 PM

Epic guitar twanging

"I finished the last gig here with a guitar disaster. So I thought, why not begin with one this time?" joked Mary Lorson, silver-toned lead singer of Madder Rose. The last time the melancholic New York guitar band played the Garage, in February, after the UK release of Tragic Magic, the encore was disrupted by Lorson's broken string. Back in town last night to showcase their new album Hello June Fool, she had to retune after the second number. "I told her to take piano lessons," digs lead guitarist Billy Cote.

Hannah Baldock

25, Aug, 1999 @11:00 PM

Saturday poem: Burning your brother's guitar by Andrew Waterhouse

You may have a brother; if not imagine one who gave you

his guitar, at a forgotten time, for an unknown reason...

Andrew Waterhouse

06, Oct, 2000 @11:55 PM

Review: Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco

Review: Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco

James Purdon

02, Aug, 2008 @11:01 PM