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Ocean Colour Scene, Times Square, Newcastle

  • Published in Live


They’re a band whom many hold very close to their hearts and rightfully so, Ocean Colour Scene are currently triumphantly celebrating the twenty-year anniversary of their classic album Moseley Shoals. They’re doing it in style to with carefully curated outdoor shows and tonight is no different as they take over the huge Times Square in Newcastle with a plethora of bands both old and new in support.

We arrive in time for Sunderland’s Hyde & Beast whose early set gets everyone excited with their upbeat sing-alongs, with the likes of 'Train To Nowhere' and 'Keep Moving' proving to be particular highlights. Their buoyant manner lifts the mood considerably; the band seem to be having equally as good a time as the crowd. However, you get the feeling that today isn’t about the new - the crowd are here for the nostalgia.

They get that in spades with John Power of Cast's hit-laden, hands in the air set as Times Square fills to capacity. The early evening sing-alongs come thick and fast. The nostalgia effect truly takes hold of the crowd; the likes of 'Walkaway' could be heard for miles around. 'Alright' invokes a similar reaction as Power effortlessly fires up the huge crowd, as the alcohol takes a grip of the audience things only seem to go from strength to strength.

This boisterous crowd scream back every word at deafening volume making us thankful for ear plugs even in this outdoor space. If John Power fired the crowd up The Bluetones took everything to the next level, with front man Mark Morriss swaggering on to the stage before breaking into opener 'Cut Some Rug'. Morriss is full of bravado as he taunts the crowd but they respond in kind, arms aloft whilst once again excitedly singing everything back.

It is yet another packed set, the likes of 'Slight Return', 'Marblehead Johnson' and 'If…' all playing their part in yet another passionate and exciting set. There is a real excitement in the air this evening, every band is going above and beyond expectation, each raising the level and if Mark Morriss is full of enthusiasm, Rick Witter is on another planet.  

Taking to the stage in spectacular fashion he wastes no time in turning everything up to eleven, his swagger is quite literally off the scale. Taunting the crowd in between songs he and Shed Seven put everything into their performance, 'Going For Gold', 'She Left Me On Friday' and 'High Hopes' all providing yet more memorable moments for the crowd. With the excitement almost reaching fever pitch the save the best until last with a rousing rendition of 'Chasing Rainbows', which again will undoubtedly have been heard for miles around.

With the crowd now tightly packed in and the effects of the alcohol overwhelming many, this leery crowd begin to get restless with anticipation. It’s safe to say it’s been a long day and many haven’t coped all that well, the floors are overly sticky and the paths are littered with casualties. However, it is the turn of Ocean Colour Scene, the dapper foursome take to the stage to a rapturous reception from their adoring fans.

Opening up with a cover of The Beatles 'Day Tripper' it invokes yet another deafening sing along, which is quickly followed by arguably three of the band's biggest tracks in 'The Riverboat Song', 'The Day We Caught The Train' and 'The Circle'. Each one met with an astounding reception as drinks fly overhead and words are screamed back, these fervent tracks are what this crowd have been longing for all day.

However, Ocean Colour Scene remain true to the album's original track listing, which appears to be this evening's downfall. Following the euphoria and unbridled excitement of the early part of the set there is a lull that seems to plague the middle part. This is such a shame as the band appear to be on top form. Yet it lacks the rousing excitement that was delivered by so many of the other bands today.

That said though they pick up the pace again in the latter part of their set with a selection of their other tracks from across their back catalogue and this revives the mood. It just feels like a true shame but at the same time we can see the reason for playing the set in this order, it still doesn’t take away the fact that on their day Ocean Colour Scene are still one of the greats of this genre and tonight in many ways they still prove that.

Further images from the show can be found here.


Festival Coverage: Y-Not 2015 - Saturday

  • Published in Live

With Saturday comes the only threat of bad weather of the entire weekend; a thick fog enveloping the hills that surround the site bringing with it sporadic pockets of light rain. For some, there's no such thing as bad weather however, just the wrong clothes, so with last year's thunderstorms playing at the back of our mind, and making sure we're dressed accordingly, we venture to the Giant Squid stage for some early afternoon technical wizardry in the form of Alright the Captain.

Whether it's the threat of rain bringing people in to the tent, or whether the people of Derbyshire and Staffordshire just love a good bit of musical complexity to ease their hangovers away, the fact remains that the tent is impressively full for the first act of the day. From breakneck to breakdowns, Alright the Captain's refusal to be bound by the constrictions of standard time signatures clearly is a little too much for some of those who have wandered in to escape the light drizzle outside. For those of us who have made a concentrated effort to catch the trio though, we couldn't have been more impressed.

Some Main Stage poppiness next in the form of four-piece Brightonians High Tyde. Whilst the band are clearly musically proficient, it unfortunately comes at the expense of also being musically boring. They're tight but not attention grabbing, and though there's a reasonably large crowd present most are families sprawled on picnic blankets and are clearly here for the day's duration. There are small pockets of excitable teenage girls though, something evidenced by the throng of denim shorts and Hunter wellies that crowd around the entrance to the backstage area when their set finishes. The band might not be to our personal tastes, but they're clearly doing something right!

Back to the Giant Squid now to catch West Yorkshire's Allusondrugs, whose sole intention seems to be to eviscerate any lingering collective headache the audience might possess. Fortunately, a steady stream of festival food and gin seems to have rendered us immune to such issues, and their blend of light grunge, neo-psych and even emo makes for an eclectic but otherwise impressive show; their energy and antics onstage making it clear why there's such a buzz about them at the moment. Front-man Jason Moules might well have earned early comparisons with Kurt Cobain but his complete lack of stoicism this afternoon renders any such comparisons moot; the chemistry between him and his band-mates is palpable and infectious - the crowd turning in to a flailing mass of limbs before even the first track is over.

Following a liquid lunch of some of the best, and most reasonably priced craft ales around, we take our place at The Allotment stage. The smallest of the site's four main stages, The Allotment plays host to some country's best unsigned (and independent) acts around. For us, it's the pull of Manchester tropi-poppers Pale Waves, whose shimmering synth-pop is the perfect antithesis for the Peak District's trademark weather. Deserving of a bigger crowd than is in attendance the band still play a quality set, and though it's their first festival experience they take it their stride.

Remaining at the Allotment, next up is almost home-town heroes TRASH who manage what is arguably the most impressive pull of the weekend. Having just signed to Clue Records (also home to Allusondrugs) the band offer a brand of fuzz-laden slacker rock which, whilst not as heavy as other Clue exports, keeps a constant stream of punters flowing stagewards. By the set's conclusion, we've been forced to the back of the tent in fear of a beer soaking, such is the amount of it sent skywards by lairy crowd members. Not that that's a negative though, not by a long shot, and the sheer buzz that tears through the crowd with each individual track is nothing short of astounding. If there was one band from the weekend to keep both eyes, ears and maybe even your tongue on, should you be that way inclined, then TRASH are definitely it.

From grassroots to glassy-eyed now. Ocean Colour Scene take to the Main Stage in what one would have assumed was a booking to appease anyone old enough to remember TFI Friday on its first iteration, and of those there aren't too many. Thankfully though, what the band actually do is cement themselves as one of brit-pop's most overlooked acts as they tear through a set of classic '90s anthems. The crowning moment of the set, and the first real “festival moment” of the weekend comes in the form of 'The Day We Caught the Train'; anthemic and utterly exceptional, the chorus' hook rings out across the Main Stage and for the several thousand of us in attendance we know we've witnessed something predictable but more importantly, something special.

With an hour to kill before headliners Basement Jaxx, we make the journey to the Quarry stage for the first time that day, in order to catch American's We Are Scientists. Unfortunately though, just about everyone else had the same idea and we're relegated to the tent's periphery for the handful of tracks that we catch. Having seen the band before, we know they're capable of giving a better impression than they do tonight. Giving them the benefit of the doubt however, we put that down to our position outside the tent, and make our way back to the main-stage for the final time that day.

No matter what your opinion on Basement Jaxx, booking them as Saturday night headliners means that the festival's tenth birthday celebrations was always going to be just that, a celebration. Personally there's at least two separate Summer holidays of being unable to escape their music. Hearing the likes of 'Oh My Gosh' and 'Where's Your Head At' pumped out of a festival PA, however more than makes up for those repetitious weeks, and the party vibe they perpetuate seems to defy any age restrictions and make for one of the most emphatic headliners we've seen. Topping it all off with a massive firework display that goes on for the duration of the aforementioned 'Where's Your Head At' surely converting any naysayers.

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