Oceansize: Roadhouse, Manchester

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How did it come to this?


Somewhere on Facebook there’s a group called ‘Let’s get Oceansize Famous’. I’m not sure they’re to blame, but this type of call to arms is responsible for what just went down.
Don’t get me wrong before this diatribe begins, and it will be an exercise in verbosity, but since when did Manchester’s finest become a tribute to cocksucking wastery.
Each and every tour they’ve ramped up their live proceedings – their last, reviewed on this here site, was perhaps their very best of the umpteen times witnessed since their early pre-Effloresce days.
Yet, tonight, and take nothing – absolutely nothing – away from the band, who once again produced a workout of undeniable superlative music – they attracted, in more than the minority, a crowd seemingly intent on showcasing their ‘I’m a bigger fan than you are,’ essence which left more than to be desired.
Indeed, the Roadhouse, a venue which should be great for dirty rockin bish-bosh, was ideally suited for Oceansize to re-live their early days of sweaty grandeur, and yet tonight some of those here seemed more intent to fist-pump, thwack thy neighbour and generally goof around like dicks, with little regard to the music on offer. In short, it felt like mini Leeds Fest when it should have felt like a tribute to a band who are better than Avenged Sevenfold.
Funny, it reminded me of Omar Mars Volta at Latitude, a festival which prides itself on looking after your own, where one miserable fuck crowd-surfed, shoe-clattering his way to the front to such an extent that Omar stopped his band, singled the waster out and let rip into a five minute tirade remarking how the Volta are a band to groove to. Not assault others to.
This attitude is reflected in Oceansize’s recently released Limited Edition Frames DVD where each of the band, and long-time producer Chris Sheldon continually refer to the groove that is inherently key to T’Size’s importance. This facet was lost among much of tonight’s crowd; so intent on proving their idolotry, that listening, absorbing, grooving was secondary to basically smashing fuck out of their nearest.
Don’t for one moment think this is the ranting of a squib; for the faces on many reflected a similar disdain at the mountains of jocks intent on raising a fist. It reminded me of the O2 dates that Prince did last summer, for every wondering face, smiling at the minute detail, their was a dick barfing his lager waiting for a Little Red Corvette that never arrived.
But maybe that’s what these nights are all about. I’ve yet to do a ‘Don’t Look Back’ style gig before – meaning a gig were your favourite band plays their opus start to finish. Indeed, tonight was the first of Oceansize’s triple-header 10th Anniversary Shows, playing Effloresce, Everyone Into Position and Frames consecutively. And to be honest I doubt I’d indulge again. For not only is it apparent they attract nightmare diehards eager to prove they’re the Kathy ‘Misery’ Bates of Fandom, but, and this is a ridiculous criticism, but I’ll state it nonetheless, the ingredients are on the tin. You know what’s happening and when.
For what it’s worth, the show was sublime; the instrumental passages of liquid ebbs perhaps most enjoyable providing a much-needed calm before the incredible savagery of You Wish, Massive Bereavement and One Day All This Could Be Yours, the latter boosted to a six-guitar wangout with Amplifier and Kong guitarists adding ear-rockets to the brain.
The three song run in of Women Who Love Men Who Love Drugs, Saturday Morning Breakfast Show and Long Forgotten is pure blissed out space-rock as Mike’s (Vennart) face creases into joyful ecstasy. They re-emerged to run through special treats Paper Champion and the ultra-punishing One Out Of nONE.
Mike vaults the moniters, everyone goes nuts, and they exit to a wall of thunder. It’s fitting, but there shouldn’t be a but.

Oceansize: Long Forgotten live at Bristol Bierkeller.

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