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The Ocean: Part 2
Live review of The Ocean live at Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Ireland. Sep 1st 2022.
I genuinely struggle with putting into words what it is I love about The Ocean. They have a dichotomy in their craft that is quite obvious when you dig a little. On paper their albums are about natural forces; the Geological ages, the Oceanic depths, the movement of the heavens above us. Lyrically they are diverse, sometimes channeling underground sci-fi movies like Andrej Tarkovsky's Stalker, and the equally esoteric themes of loss and loneliness.
And on top of it all they can write good old head-banging riffs!
This was my third time seeing The Ocean live. Each gig over the years has been promoting a different album, this time ‘Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic / Cenozoic’. The setlist was a mix of this album and ‘Phanerozoic I’. It was the first gig where I didn’t hear them play ‘Firmament’, which is as close to a signature tune that the band have. After twenty years in the business, they have the confidence to play a gig with almost entirely new material.
There were two supports, both friends from The Ocean’s DIY record label Pelagic. LLNN are excellent noise merchants from Denmark. Preceding them were Playgrounded, a kind of post-metal synth inspired band that the Aquanaut enjoyed immensely (I bought a vinyl off of them. Lovely guys).
The Ocean played to a small but energetic and attentive audience. These guys sell out gigs on the continent. Unfortunately the live hard-rock scene in Ireland seems to be dominated by cover bands, or the forty something fanbase saving up their time and money for marquee gigs like Guns n Roses et al during the summer months.
The Ocean don’t seem to care about this. They played with a passion and ferocity that you might expect to see at a slightly larger venue, packed to the rafters.
There’s a sadness and beauty to the transient power of live music. You are taken on a sonic journey, stories are told, guitars strings and emotions are plucked. And then it ends. This is why the ritual of the fake ending for the encore is so powerful. Oh! They’re back again! Finally the full lights come on in the venue and the show ends. However you describe that transient power, one thing is true. The Ocean understand it, and distill it to one of its purest forms every time they play live. Please catch them live. They are constantly touring but, like everything, nothing lasts forever.
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Next post: The Aquanaut dips his toes into some of the sounds that began to emanate from Seattle during his early teens…