Gig review: Ocean Colour Scene at O2 Academy Leeds

REMEMBER 1996? When Britpop, lad culture and Cool Britannia were everywhere? Seems a long time ago now, doesn't it?

Ocean Colour Scene at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

Football was coming home (actually it wasn’t, as England lost on penalties to Germany in the Euro 96 semi-final at Wembley) but there was a feelgood factor sweeping the country and an explosion of indie bands.

In August 1996, I was a teenager and among a huge crowd of 120,000 which saw Ocean Colour Scene provide the support for Oasis’ seminal Knebworth gigs.

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The Prodigy, Manic Street Preachers, The Chemical Brothers and The Bootleg Beatles also played on that sun-baked Saturday afternoon in Hertfordshire.

Ocean Colour Scene at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

It was a memorable summer all told but, 22 years on, Ocean Colour Scene remain intact and are still packing out venues with their loyal, albeit ageing and largely middle-aged, fans.

The Birmingham indie-rockers have notched up nine albums, three of which went Top 5 – 1996’s Moseley Shoals, 1997’s Marchin’ Already and 1999’s One From The Modern – and a run of nine successive Top 20 hit singles commencing with 1996’s The Riverboat Song.

They also racked up a staggering 17 Top 40 singles, with six of them Top 10 hits, including The Day We Caught The Train, Hundred Mile High City, and The Circle.

Still with original members Simon Fowler, Oscar Harrison and Steve Cradock, as well as new member Raymond Meade, the band are still touring and still making music.

Motown legends Martha Reeves and the Vandellas supported Ocean Colour Scene at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

Fowler remains a fine frontman and all the band’s best-known tracks are belted out with gusto in front of a lively Leeds crowd.

Kicking off with Everything Comes At The Right Time, the temperature is quickly raised by a rousing Riverboat Song.

The classics continue to flow, with The Circle, Better Day, You’ve Got It Bad, Get Blown Away, Travellers Tune, 100 Mile High City and Day We Caught The Train.

Ocean Colour Scene have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the greats of modern British rock and, judging by this near-faultless performance, they clearly have plenty left in the tank yet.