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Oceansize - Koko, London - October 1st 2010 (Live Review)

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 Written by Matthew Williamson
Oceansize - Koko, London - October 1st 2010 (Live Review)

After 12 years together it would be easy for Oceansize to be jaded by their lack of mainstream success, but here they are again, almost filling the 1,410 capacity Koko in the heart of London.

Support act Yndi Halda kicked-off the proceedings with a good 2 and a half song set before they were kicked off to make time for This Town Needs Guns. The 'Club NME' night on afterwards means that there’s a tight schedule to stick to and This Town Needs Guns arrive right on time, despite the poor sound and being slightly out of place on a bill featuring the more thoughtful and progressive rock of Yndi and Oceansize.

As Oceansize take to the stage it is clear why a thousand people have braved the wind and rain to make it to the gig. Starting the set with the pulsating ‘Port Cardiac’, it sets the tone for what’s sure to be a tremendous set.  Without pausing they unleash ‘Build Us a Rocket Then…’ (the title of which has been shortened from something more explicit due to the band being scared). According to guitarist Steve Durose, the way frontman Mike Vennart dances to the song shows that he’s not going to win Strictly Come Dancing anytime soon, however, it’s a worthy effort.

ImageOlder tracks come in the form of ‘Unfamiliar’  and ‘New Pin’ before the quiet, brooding but ultimately epic ‘Music for a Nurse’ kicks in.  The piece is hauntingly beautiful, the ebb and flow make it almost unique in today’s world of music, from pop-punk to death metal; nothing sounds like this.

Back to 2010 for ‘It’s My Tail And I’ll Chase It If I Want To’ which follows on from ‘Music For A Nurse.’ This time however the band aren’t going for subtlety, there’s loud distortion, bass, drums, you name it. There’s something slightly different about ‘Silent/Transparent’.  We settle on the fact that the vocals are so important to the mix. Steve Durose, during our interview with him before the show, revealed that the lyrics are more important now than they ever were to the band, and in the beautiful Koko it’s easy to associate with them.  As the vocals drop out it still retains its meaning however. It’s amazing how they seem to connect with every individual in the crowd directly.

More new tracks follow in the form of ‘SuperImposer’ and ‘Pine’, before the older ‘Paper Champion’, easily identifiable by the computerised drums that start proceedings before being joined by clever, interweaving riffs over the top, as well as Vennart’s vocals. The penultimate track is fan favourite ‘Trail of Fire’, another track that breaks the 8 minute barrier, before the band finally end their set with ‘Ornament/The Last Wings’; a song that, according to Steve Durose, “sums up Oceansize’s career”. The light show that accompanies the song is absolutely superb, giving it a whole extra level.

As the band quickly appear back onstage for their encore Vennart explains, “there’s a club after you’re all invited to,” which explains why the gig is drawing to a close at 9:45.  Finally they start their only song from debut album 'Effloresce', ‘Women Who Love Men Who Love Drugs.’  It also brings the real highlight of the evening.  As the song draws to a close Vennart, Durose and Richard “Gambler” Ingram close into a semi-circle and keep the ending riff going.  Vennart closing his eyes as his fingers work their magic.  Everything is still, everything is perfect.

They may not be fresh-faced teenagers bounding about the stage, but the way Oceansize deliver with such precision and attention to detail is impeccable.  The Manchester quintet walk off the stage to rapturous applause and it’s easy to understand why.

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