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Ocean Colour Scene, Wolverhampton Racecourse - Review and pictures

By James Driver-Fisher | Entertainment | Published:

Watching the sun set over Wolverhampton Racecourse, basking in the last of the summer sun, while Ocean Colour Scene play their finest tunes.

I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve seen Birmingham’s finest perform – but what I can say is I have never been disappointed.

The band has been rocking for three decades now but they still deliver . . . every . . . single . . . time.

Could you ask for a Better Day? Well, we certainly laughed with all our friends – and there were no nightmares – but we were all certainly blown away.

Okay, enough of quoting lyrics, let’s just focus on how good the band is. When you consider the group released Moseley Shoals back in 1996, it’s quite incredible how we still never tire of hearing songs off the album.

But as well as that, Marching Already and One From the Modern are two of the best rock albums ever made - there’s just something so catchy about all their songs, and their popularity shone once more through the red sky as the sun set at the racecourse, while all their fans danced their worries away.

Men in suits who had clearly enjoyed themselves at the races, with the obligatory ties over their head, women dressed to the nines in posh frocks screaming the lyrics, music fans who had just turned up to see the band play and those who were simply enjoying their Friday night.

It all helped to make it a superb night.

The most impressive thing for me about the band, however, is their longevity – and how Simon Fowler’s voice has never dipped and never changed.

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You’d think after all the partying and live gigs his vocals may have waned. Not so and, if anything, his voice has matured like a fine wine.

June Becomes July was soon belted out and the little riff by Steve Craddock, one of Britain’s greatest guitarists in my humble opinion, never fails to get the crowd rocking.

And with Oscar Harrison belting out the beats on the drums, the band was as tight as ever.

Soon it was time for Craddock to own the stage once more as he belted out the opening riff to Get Blown Away. It was masterful as he stood like a silhouette, introducing the song and getting the fans jumping as the track got into full flow.

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There is a huge revival of Indie rock, or 1990s rock in general, going on at the moment. And, other than reminding me of how the years are advancing – and how the younger generation sees 90s Brit Pop as I saw 70s rock when I was growing up – it’s great live rock music is once again back in demand.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pretty much every genre of music, but when Fowler starts singing So Low as the sun sets on Wolverhampton Racecourse, life doesn’t get much better.

Add to that Craddock’s relentlessly-funky guitar solos and you have a recipe for greatness.

‘You’ve Got it Bad’ – damn straight we did and the song was another reminder of what makes Ocean Colour Scene so good.

Catchy riffs, banging drums, driving bass and Fowler’s crisp voice – there’s a reason we never tire of seeing one of Birmingham’s best play live.

There was another lovely acoustic interlude, when the spotlight singled out Fowler as he sang Besides Yourself, which sounded as good as it did back in the 90s.

But there was still time for the classics – does any song ever written have a better opening riff than Riverboat Song? As Craddock made the guitar wail once more, the crowd really started rocking.

And then they walked off stage. It seemed far too early for an encore but thankfully they returned pretty sharpish –It’s A Beautiful Thing when that happens, especially when Craddock is then given free rein to start wailing on the wa-wa peddle again.

Of course, there was still time for The Day We Caught the Train. And then it was over, too soon for my liking, but at least it meant everyone was able to leave Wolverhampton and get home before the city centre locked its doors at 11pm.

Another great night watching one of the greatest rock bands this region has ever produced. I’m already looking forward to the next gig.

James Driver-Fisher

By James Driver-Fisher

Motorsport journalist and entertainment and food reviewer for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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