Last night saw Aussie Indie-rockers Ocean Alley return to the UK, for what was the first night of their European tour, and a warm up to their slot at Boardmasters festival. After forming in 2011, the band has seen a meteoric rise in their homeland, seeing mainstream success. This latest tour sees them preparing for the release of their new album, their first in two years.
Opener Sophie May didn’t kick proceedings off with a bang, her proposed forty-five minute set ending after only twenty, but her soft vocals and mellow guitar tones lulled the crowd into a form of hypnosis. The crowd were writhing before the lights even lowered, but once they did, the roar was electric. War’s Low Rider erupted from the speakers, announcing the arrival of the band. Instantaneously, the crowd began singing at their loudest for opener Tombstone, barely taking breath until the song was over.
Despite some minor technical difficulties, Yellow Mellow went down a storm with the audience, as does other fan hits Infinity and Lonely Diamond. The intricacies of each member’s parts were fully audible, and the ease with which they played them showed that they are experts of their craft. In Partner in Crime, guitarist Angus Goodwin shines, adding light flourishes over the atmospheric, reverb-heavy track, and the transitions in their medley of Pink Floyd classics – Breathe (In the Air), Comfortably Numb, and Money – was a beautiful surprise. Even latest single Deepest Darkness showed that fans are clawing at the chance to hear new music from the band, singing just as proudly as they did over the older tracks.
The one-two punch of Confidence and Happy Sad, before returning after a brief exit for Baby Come Back – a Player cover – and Knees conclude the night on a high. It seems the UK press have Ocean Alley all wrong; they aren’t just another sunny, indie-rock band from the other side of the world. The band bring an unabashed and confident classic-rock aesthetic to their performance that most mainstream indie bands seem eager to shy away from. Front man Baden Donegal is unafraid, knowing exactly how to play the crowd, as is guitarist Mitch Galbraith. Last nights show was impeccable.
Breathe (In The Air), Comfortably Numb, Money (Pink Floyd Medley)
Touch Back Down
Partner in Crime
Baby Come Back (Player Cover)
Writer and Musician, Ryan Bulbeck has been published with a number of online publications, and has worked with a myriad of great artists, both as a performer, and as a producer. His most recent band The 295 are still active, playing shows around the UK.