Ocean Colour Scene made a long awaited return to Belfast, their first gig in the city since March 2010, to perform their breakthrough album Moseley Shoals in it’s entirety to commemorate the 20th anniversary of it’s release.

I know, i’ve done the maths, recaulculated it and checked my working out, but 1996 was 20 years ago. I’m as shocked as you are.

Album Anniversary Tours is a practice i’m not really a fan of, I think it’s a bit of a nonsense. I like going to gigs and not knowing what is going to be played, hoping to hear my favourite songs and even being disappointed if the band doesn’t play a song I want them to play. It’s a bit boring if you know what is going to be played and in what order.

However, knowing that I would be guaranteed to hear The Riverboat Song, The Day We Caught The Train and The Circle made it worth the admission fee.

There was no support act, just a unseen DJ blasting out 90s Hits, to get the crowd in the mood, as the band entered the stage playing a cover of Daytripper by The Beatles, before moving onto the songs from Moseley Shoals, the opening track being The Riverboat Song, with it’s distinctive guitar riff.

The crowd knew every word, Simon Fowler even taking a step back to let them sing one of the verses.

There was a notable absence on stage in the shape of Oscar Harrison, who was suffering from back problems. He missed their recent Spanish shows, and it was anticipated that the Belfast gig would be his comeback.

Unfortunately, it was too soon for him,

It wasn’t the first time he’s had to miss a Belfast gig due to a back injury. I’m going to bore you with an anecdote about the time I met 50% of Ocean Colour Scene and 20% of Oasis.

In late 2001, I was working part-time in a bar in Belfast City Centre. One Wednesday night, I walked past a man who looked like Damon Minchella from Ocean Colour Scene and thought nothing of it. Then, I saw Steve Craddock, and it turned out it actually was Steve and Damon from Ocean Colour Scene.

They had just come from Blackstaff Studios where they had filmed a performance for The John Daly Show. Simon wasn’t there and neither was Oscar. He was replaced by Alan White from Oasis. I met him, Steve and Damon and was chatting to them.

Obviously I end up disappointing people when I tell them that i’ve met somebody from Oasis and it turns out not to be a Gallagher.

Simon told the crowd that Oscar said hi.

He wasn’t the only member of the band who has missed giggs through illness, as Ray Meade, now Bassist as Damon Minchella has since left the band, missed some gigs due to a Collapsed Lung, and this was his comeback.

Having had the spotlights put on the crowd, Simon told the crowd they are beautiful, before adding that they were not as beautiful as the Spanish, with the band having come to Belfast after gigs in Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza.

Tony Coote was the Drummer filling in for Oscar, described by Simon as a “Genius” due to learning the setlist inside 45 minutes, though there was one song where Steve Craddock was made hand gestures at him to indicate how he should be holding the drum sticks.

Surprisingly, as a former journalist, Simon Fowler let slip a bit of an exclusive by revealing that Boy George had recorded a duet for Paul Weller’s new album, before then sheepishly and apologetically looking to his bandmate Steve Craddock for letting the info slip.

For those who don’t know, Steve Craddock divides his time between Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller’s backing band, so he would obviously be a good source of information for Paul Weller related news.

There were a few ringers on the set list, including some hits from their follow up album Marchin Already, such as Better Day and Hundred Mile High City.

Better Day is a forgotten classic and my favourite OCS song, so I especially enjoyed getting to hear this live.

We even got treated to Profit In Peaces, as in, it was actually on the setlist and not an impromptu performance like at their last Belfast gig, because a fight had broken out in the middle of the floor while they were performing another song.

The only downside was the sheer volume of smelly tramps in the venue, constantly having to hold my nose to avoid breathing in vapes. Someone needs to tell these cunts that it’s not a competition to see how much and how far you can puff out.

It’s bad enough these cunts ruining outdoor concerts for everyone, now they are determined to ruin indoor concerts for everyone now.

I couldn’t help wonder if Better Day and Hundred Mile High City were a teaser for a 20th anniversary tour for Marchin Already, which was released in 1997.

Though this is Belfast, and with a title like that, there would probably be a resident’s group to protest it.

Just don’t leave it nearly seven years before returning.

Photo Album

Ocean Colour Scene live at Mandela Hall 2010

Ocean Colour Scene live at Mandela Hall 2010 Photo Album

Ocean Colour Scene live at Custom House Square 2007 Photo Album


It only just dawned on me that it was a year ago this weekend that I was getting ready to head to Dublin, where I would be based to head to Slane to see Oasis in concert.

It was my 5th Oasis concert, having previously seen them at Lansdowne Road (2000), The Odyssey (2002, 2008) and T In The Park (2002)

In the summer of 2002, I was working part-time in a bar, and won an internal staff competition for tickets to T In The Park.

I spent a day with colleagues, frantically trying to get shifts covered and buses arranged at three days notice.

Oasis are the sort of band you go to this much trouble to see.

I love Oasis. I mean, I love Oasis. I have their entire back catalogue of Singles and Albums.

I got into them, like everyone else did, in the mid 1990s. Without having a disposable income due to being in school, I would usually wait until my brother was out of the house, to sneak into his room to listen to his Oasis CDs.

By my 15th birthday, he had moved out, and when I got money for my birthday, I was straight into town to get my own copies of ‘Definately Maybe‘ and ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?‘.

A thrill you can’t get on itunes is heading home from a CD shop, desperately rushing to get home to listen to your purchase.

That Christmas, I asked santa really nicely and got a copy of ‘Be Here Now‘ and ‘The Masterplan‘ to complete the set.

‘The Masterplan’, was an album compiled of B-sides. B-side is a bit of an insulting term in music, implying that a song is only there to fill up space on a CD so that consumers can’t complain about not getting enough siongs when purchasing a single. Not with Oasis.

That’s the beauty of Oasis, that every song means something. With most bands, people only ever know their singles, but not Oasis.

In a lot of cases, their B-sides and album tracks are often better than their singles. It’s a prolific ratio most bands can only dream of.

This was proved with the 2006 best of compilation album, ‘Stop The Clocks‘, where big hits were side by side with B-sides and album tracks.

This week, Oasis are due in the album chart with the singles compilation, ‘Time Flies‘, a compilation of all their singles.

It’s only when you look at the songs on it, and not on it, that you realise how good Oasis were.

Back in the late 1990s, when the internet was in it’s infancy as a commercial utility, record companies would leave cards in their CDs for people to fill in with their address, and get sent out postcards of cover art sent out to them in the run-up to a release.

I had sent replies to cards in many CDs, and it was a great excitement to come home from school, and then later tec, on a Friday or Monday (Dependent on how fast Royal Mail were) to see what had arrived through the post, if it was worth buying, and most importantly, as a lover of music art, worth hanging up on the wall.

I would get postcards sent from many varying artists, but it was always the ones from Oasis that generated the most excitement.

An e-mail to your inbox, or a PM on Facebook, will never generate the same excitement.

That wasn’t enough, I also had a vast video collection, taken from MTV and VH1 from the days when they broadcast music programming, of concerts, interviews and documentaries.

A recent documentary on Channel 4 featured voxpops with a wide range of Oasis fans explaining what Oasis means to them.

One of those featured was Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero. Despite being a world recognised public figure, who has achieved the ultimate accolade for both club and country, playing in the best stadiums in the biggest games, he spoke about his childish excitement at getting to meet Oasis, about his favourite songs, just like any other Oasis fan.

I actually met Alan White, drummer from 1995-2004 when I worked in The Apartment, when he was guesting with Ocean Colour Scene.

It was a quiet Wednesday night, so I took the opportunity to chat to him about music and general randomness.

Though being the focal point of the band, there’s more to Oasis than Liam and Noel, as they have been complimented by two different backing line-ups of Bonehead and Guigsy (1991-1999) and Andy Bell and Gem Archer (1999-2009), without whom, Oasis just wouldn’t function.

Every Oasis album since 2000 has been waited with excitement. For ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants‘, I waited patiently for Woolworths in Bangor Town Centre to open at 9am so I could get my copy as soon as it was on sale.

When ‘Heathen Chemistry‘ came out in 2002, I saw them at The Odyssey the night before it came out, having watched the World Cup final that afternoon.

Despite being a student, and having the day off the part-time work I was at, I was up first thing on the Monday morning to get my copy.

For ‘Don’t Believe The Truth‘ in 2005, the final assignments and exams of my HND were to take a back seat while I got my copy of the new Oasis album.

By the time they released ‘Dig Out Your Soul‘ in 2008, I was working for a media intelligence company in an industrial park with no civilisation nearby.

It was a horrible company to work for. The management team was weak and clueless, often being given the runaround by social retards who only got employed through knowing someone who knew someone.

I spent most of my time having to make endless apologies to customers for mistakes made by other people, and the only mistake I made was to pick up the phone when they rang to complain.

The social retardation of my work colleagues was bad enough, but they insisted on playing Cool FM at full blast, believing that Pink, Taylor Swift and The Script on constant repeat is what people want to listen to.

When you are dealing with people who think the lyrics to Pink songs are deep and meaningful, there’s nothing you really can do.

That one day, I went to Tesco at lunchtime, as I did every lunchtime, because it was the only place nearby, but this day was different, as I purchased a copy of the new Oasis album.

As I sat in the office that afternoon, I kept looking at the new CD I purchased, with the giddy excitement I felt in 1998 when I bought the first two Oasis albums with my birthday money.

My word, doesn’t time fly.

Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants

The Odyssey, 2008 Blog


Slane, 2009 Blog

Odyssey 2008 Photos

Slane 2009 Photos

Lansdown Road 2000 Photos

Odyssey 2008 Flickr

Slane 2009 Flickr