Re-live hits of Ocean Colour Scene in gig at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds
Who’s ready for An Evening with Simon and Oscar from Ocean Colour Scene at The Apex on Monday?
Vocalist Simon Fowler and drummer Oscar Harrison call in at the Bury St Edmunds venue with their acoustic tour featuring their biggest hits and anthems, such as The Riverboat Song, The Circle, Traveller’s Tune, Hundred Mile High City and The Day We Caught The Train.
It is the latest chapter in what has been a remarkable career, which saw OCS rise from Breton shirt-wearing Stone Roses disciples to one of Britpop’s biggest bands.
Formed more than three decades ago now, OCS would spend a good six years fine-tuning their sound before lighting up the Britpop party with three top 5 albums – 1996’s Moseley Shoals, 1997’s Marchin’ Already and 1999’s One From The Modern.
The band would also achieve some 17 top 40 singles, including a staggering run of nine successive top 20 singles and a mantelpiece full of awards.
As with all the best groups, though, behind the swagger and style, there was many a great song, with lyrics and melodies that found their way into the public’s minds and hearts.
It’s now time to hear these songs again, stripped back but every bit as brilliant.
A key question in the Ocean Colour Scene story is perhaps where the name came from, and who came up with it. “Steve, Damon (Minchella) and I were in Solihull Library and we started choosing words whose sounds we liked, explains Simon
“Ocean and colour appealed to all of us, and then I picked up a book about the railway scene in Nuneaton, possibly the dullest tome ever published.
“But I liked the word scene; when we told Oscar the next day we were so self-conscious about how stupid it sounded, we had to write it down.”
“It was majority rule,” added Oscar.
At the beginning, in the early days of the ‘railway scene’, the band members admitted they needed success as they didn’t know anything other than making music.
“That was pretty much true,” continued Simon. “We came together very quickly and established ourselves as the top band in Birmingham. It meant we identified with being successful early on.
“We also had the dedication to go and live in slums and bedsits if we went through a rough patch.”
Words that are echoed by bandmate Oscar: “We did have our low points like any other band, but we just stuck with it.
“Overall though, we kept rising and rising.”
They’ve even collected some celebrity fans along the way, including Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher, whilst also supporting the Rolling Stones and Oasis in those early, heady days of the band.
“We recorded our first album in his [Paul Weller’s)] studio near Marble Arch in London,” explained Simon.
“We also supported the Rolling Stones in Stuttgart at one point, which we were thrilled about, although, as it turned out, we never met them.
“There were two stadiums in the city and a football match at one of them. “So our dressing rooms were two miles away and somehow, in all the logistics, we never got to shake Mick Jagger’s hand.”
Oscar added: “We supported Oasis on their first proper UK tour, although in all honesty we didn’t go down great. Everyone was there to see Oasis; it was the same with Weller – all we could hear were shouts of ‘Paul, Paul, Paul’.”
Now with an acoustic tour in hand, this will be the pairing of Simon and Oscar, with Simon singing and playing acoustic guitar while Oscar will also sing, play piano, bass and percussion.
Simon and Oscar from Ocean Colour Scene perform on Monday, May 16 at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds.