At the Apollo theatre, Ocean Colour Scene seemed like a band caught between generations.
The lead singer Simon Fowler had the relaxed stage presence that only comes with experience, occasionally referring to the age of the band (21 this year) and giving nostalgic references to their first gig at the Manchester Borderline. This was contrasted with the whirling dervish lead guitarist, Steve Cradock, who kept his traditional rock roots by crossing between Peter Townshend’s windmill arms, Angus Young’s one legged pogoing and a couple of moves reserved to himself alone, such as headbutting the microphone.
This eclectic mix of on stage characters was mirrored in the unpredictable music. The tracks wavered from an admittedly “self indulgent” acoustic section, to their traditional rock classics. The show included a brief cover of ‘Live Forever’ by Oasis (a note of appreciation to the help Noel Gallagher offered them at the start of their career), a guest appearance by Mani from Stone Roses on bass for ‘Hundred Mile High City’ and, in celebration of John Lennon’s 70th birthday, the evening closed with ‘Daytripper’.
Whilst in some ways the homage to Oasis and The Beatles showed respect for the bands that influenced them, and added to the nostalgic, reflective quality of the gig, it could also have been seen as crowd pleasing, a slightly saddening pastiche of the now-faded Brit Rock genre.
The crowd were likewise a pick n’ mix, hodgepodge collection of society. Almost like a confused Christmas wish list there were indie kids, football tops, a few punks, a lot of drunks and even a gurning raver. Although a small fight broke out, most of the night was a bizarre mesh, unified in sing-a-longs and a drunken haze.
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