LIVE REVIEW: Ocean Colour Scene Leicester O2 17.5.24

LIVE REVIEW: Ocean Colour Scene Leicester O2 17.5.24

Birmingham’s finest exponents of Jumpin’ Jack Flash grooves, Bless The Weather folk and Ticket To Ride pop triumphantly returned to the live circuit on a warm Friday night at Leicester’s 02.

60’s songstress PP Arnold opens proceedings with her unmistakable, towering voice. Her history is as impressive as her purple suit, the once Ikette and guest vocalist with the likes of The Small Faces, tonight she commences with the classic Traffic tune Medicated Goo taken from her lost album Turning Point that was finally given a much deserved release in 2017. Her set includes fab new tracks written with Steve Cradock including Baby Blue, a nod towards Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane with tonight’s rendition of the dynamite single (If You Think You’re) Groovy, bowing out with The First Cut Is The Deepest, originally recorded 10 years before Rod The Mod took it under his wing, yet PP Arnold has the definitive version firmly under her Heavyweight belt, she’s a true icon of her field and still vastly underrated.

Ocean Colour Scene consist of debutant Leon Harrison, taking over the drumming stool temporarily from his dad Oscar who apparently had a gardening accident, Leon keeps the pace as cool as Al Jackson Jr, not much emotion shown but plenty of heart and soul; Steve Cradock stage left showcases his vast array of key changes, fret board knowhow and general brilliance, it’s as compelling viewing as watching Tony Hart switching felt tips; Ray Meade surveys the stage for opportunities to execute his sturdy bass vibrations; Simon Fowler continues to fascinate and draw the audience in like you’re one on one with his unmistakable soul voice and fervent acoustic playing, unleashing his voice like a prime Steve Ellis, with Cassius Cradock providing additional guitar and piano, the combined mix is as good as it gets.

Pic by Matt Mead

The set is a mix of the well-known, rarely heard and fan favourites, all delivered with enough aplomb to bring the crowd to boiling point. Starting with The Riverboat Song, You’ve Got It Bad, Better Day and Debris Road the band are off to a flyer. July returns with its sonic guitar reverberations, Profit For Peace has it’s timely message ‘we don’t wanna fight no more’, Day Tripper bounds and flourishes with a The Who commanding quality than the tripped out delivery of the Fabs. Foxy’s Folk Faced, Second Hand Car and Drive Away touch the perennial nether regions of the divine. PP Arnold joins in with an impromptu version of Travellers Tune, North Atlantic Drift is The Poacher of set, whilst the outro of mod favourites The Circle, 100 Mile High City and the euphoric The Day We Caught The Train doing little but have the crowd in the palm of their hands.

Tonight was a solid reminder of the greatness of Ocean Colour Scene, they’ve sometimes been a light that’s often been all too easily put out but their raging fires of distinguished, lionized canticles are screaming come a bath in their beauty.