Ocean Colour Scene at Edinburgh (Gig Review)

Review of Ocean Colour Scene Gig in Edinburgh

It’s difficult to come across a band who have defied the test of time and carry a surge of ecstatic nostalgia in their live performances to the same extent as Ocean Colour Scene.
Ocean Colour Scene Edinburgh gig

Review of Ocean Colour Scene gig in Edinburgh

Recently finishing a tour of their tenth studio release, Painting, the tour veterans chose this winter to embark on reigniting the live spark of arguably their greatest release to date, Marchin’ Already. If ever there was a band to give a crowd what they want, it’s Ocean Colour Scene. Storming through an endless sea of classics, right from the word go, with the blistering Hundred Mile High City, through to the softer ballad of Better Day and the ever-merry dedication to Small Faces’ Ronnie Lane, Travellers Tune.
On my seventh Ocean Colour Scene gig, I found the beauty to be tucked away in the album’s lesser-known numbers. Hearing songs like Big Star and Debris Road live for the first time was especially memorable, and the rendition of Besides Yourself was simply beautiful – all this coming before my personal favourite Get Blown Away made croaked vocals the following morning a certain guarantee!
What endears me most to be a band like Ocean Colour Scene is their lack of gimmicks. Yes, Simon Fowler engages in crowd interaction very well; but it comes on top of amazing performance, as opposed to a compromise for it. They are easily one of the tightest live bands you’ll ever hear – and if it wasn’t for the *ahem* questionable acoustics of Edinburgh’s Picture House, you’d be forgiven for struggling to distinguish between the studio recordings.
Being situated front and centre (as has become common practice for me at OCS gigs), I found the Edinburgh crowd to be a little light in ‘getting off their feet’, so to speak. This was to change after the band’s break, in which they returned to storm through a second-half string of greatest hits; alongside two of the best from their Painting album. Profit In Peace notably raised the roof, as per usual – and So Low seemed to unite the crowd incredibly well.
The ever-present Riverboat Song closed the set, before Simon took to the stage alone – providing a personal highlight for the evening by handing me his setlist – before strumming his way through the blissful Robin Hood, demonstrating the evident quality still present in his vocals – before the band returned to close the 23-song show with The Day We Caught The Train.
You wonder how much longer a band like Ocean Colour Scene can remain on such a consistently high level of live performance – but, if you’re anything like myself; you’ll be hoping the don’t wait too long to return back to their much-praised Scottish crowds!
Review by Robbie Thomson

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