Review of Ocean Colour Scene live at The Olympia Theatre in Dublin on Tuesday December 6th 2016: by Stephen Vaughan
After the false start of their orphaned eponymous debut record in 1992, Ocean Colour Scene went back to the drawing board. ‘Moseley Shoals‘ was the fruit born of their reinvention. It was one of the biggest albums of 1996, spending 92 weeks on the chart, back when charts actually mattered. Twenty years later… they’re playing the record in its entirety to the crowds to whom it matters more now, than ever. Tonight is the second of two sold-out shows at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. Before tackling their biggest ever album, they treat the crowd to a pumped-up version of Beatles’ classic ‘Day Tripper’; an OCS standard at this stage. Then it’s straight into it, relentless.
Tune after tune of raucous, genre straddling, sing-a-long songs the melodies of which have been seared into the subconscious of everyone in attendance on the night. Guitarist Steve Cradock is in fine form on the night, switching between his trusty gold Les Paul and red Gibson 335. Cradock stalks the stage, kicking out his elastic legs and wind milling away as he embroiders Simon Fowler’s songs with those bright golden notes that first rang in our ears twenty years ago. The crowd bounces to the opening riff of ‘The Riverboat Song’ rarely stopping all night. Arms are wrapped around friends and strangers alike, drinks raised as inhibitions plummet. All of a sudden, you’re kissing an unfamiliar bald head beaded with sweat and adorned by several questionable warts. Then its ‘The Day We Caught the Train’ followed by ‘The Circle’ and it’s not often you hear a band open up with arguably their three biggest singles ever! If the running order of the first half of the show is short on surprises, it does jog the memory with airings for ‘The Downstream’ and ‘Lining Your Pockets’.
The ‘Moseley Shoals‘ portion of the evening is brought to an end by the epic, sprawling ‘Get Away’ then it’s into a selection of fan favourites from the bands vast back catalogue. The mandolin spring of the fleet-footed ‘This Day Should Last Forever’ is a little-known gem, ‘Better Day’ and ‘Traveller’s Tune’. In true 90’s festival fashion during ‘One for The Road’ there’s a couple of airborne beverages, not as many as there was back in the day. You can’t quite “get up and dance” like you used to in the Celtic Tiger days when you’re worried about the price of the launch-able liquid. However, with no new album to peddle, tonight’s set was packed full of killer tunes from start to finish. A timely reminder of what a good band Ocean Colour Scene actually are. Roll on the new material.
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