how does this make you feel?


Ocean Alley @ Florida Beach Bar, Terrigal NSW Australia 05/10/2018 written by Brendan Lewis.

Welcome back, make yourself at home (likely in your own home), can I get you anything? Coffee, tea, a bloody-good read perhaps? You’re here at the Ocean Alley ‘Baby Come Back’ tour concert in Terrigal, on court mandated therapy after the actions at my last Ocean Alley review last holiday on April 18, in which you stole a pretty little devil, plus some valuable flowers and booze out of the art gallery….. Wow, you must’ve really loved my review by the sounds of it?! But before we get to that, I want to talk about the time leading up to the incident, the rage shooting straight to your bones, when your partner in crime fled the scene, abandoning you, and the confidence to commit, and how it made you feel at the comedown of it all.

Ok, let’s start from the beginning…

First of all, the senses are exhilarated as the classic music of AC/DC fills the venue while the band walk onto the stage. Despite the excitement you felt from the sound of AC/DC, the bands’ first song ‘Corduroy’, delivers a more angst-filled, spacey feel, with the slightly withheld vocals floating on a haze of minor-tone, A-minor perhaps, guitar and synth, before the wicked sounding ending that leads onto the next chapter.

Now we move to ‘The Comedown’. The angst and floating haziness that was felt is now whisked away to reveal a pleasant, calming mix of smooth sounds, including horns and keyboard swirling around more confident soaring vocals. The soft descending melodic keyboard taps, gently glides through the exquisite mix of sound, which leads me to my next observation. Normally the sound mix for my patients here at this venue is quite rough and dirty, still even enough for the sounds, but yes, rough, in this pub venue. But tonight however, I’m astonished at how clear and perfectly balanced all sounds are, and am noticing more sound attributes here tonight then I did in April at the bands’ show in Sydney.

Let’s move on now, to ‘Hold On’ followed by ‘Muddy Water’. I detect a sense of intriguing darkness to ‘Hold On’, spicing things up and drawing everyone in, with its attention-grabbing walking guitar and bass, plus indulgent horn harmonies. The lead singers emotion is poured out in his vocals in ‘Muddy Water’, with its mellow minor-tone sway. The intricate bass-line really stands out in this song, and I feel it brings a sense of comfort to the singers’ crying-out emotion with arms out wide awaiting the audiences embrace. The skillful drum rhythms flick and roll around the singers honest emotional depth in the minor-toned chorus, and as if the emotion too much to bare, the lead singer let’s the crowd take over in the songs suspenseful bridge section build up, raising the energy in the crowd for them to sing the final chorus even louder.

Just like a real therapist cutting you off right in the middle of your epic whinge because your session is at an end, yeah, sorry, I’m afraid we’re running out of time, well, words….. Not that I don’t care about the rest of this session and what the band have to say, I’m paid to care, but let’s just skip to the most important parts so I can knock-off and get to the pub on time.

I know I know, cutting you off right after the emotional blast in ‘Muddy Water’ didn’t go down too well, but here’s a tissue to wipe those tears. The energy lifts up exceedingly as a brilliant contrast from the last song with ‘Knees’ and its sparkly horns and sharp drum strikes in the songs’ verse sections, flowing beautifully into the swirling chorus with soaring vocals as the lead singer moves around the stage feeding off the crowds energy nicely.  Another important note in this session I ‘Feel’ is…. You get it, with its bright 70’s rock sounding bubbly major-key tone, which I believe may be the key of D. As the session progresses, the musical colour (literally for me) differs, swirls and sets a perfect flow of light, dark, happy and sad, plus makes my synesthesia look like a freakin’ Kaleidoscope with all the colours! Two more notable songs I feel are ‘Flowers And Booze’ and their touring single, the bands cover of ‘Baby Come Back’, which the bands’ sound is perfectly fitting for. Both songs elevate the energy in the room dramatically for different reasons, ‘Flowers And Booze’ (my personal favourite) brings a funky almost jazz groove to the rock guitar and bass riffs and lively dance swagger-beat in a vibrant major-flavour…. Key of B maybe? Whereas the bands’ cover of ‘Baby Come Back’, brings a nostalgic reminiscent chorus of sing alongs, and I mean, whether you like the song or not, we all know it and can’t not sing along when it’s played at a gig! But now, we’re cutting into my pub time, so, the band thank us and play their final song for the evening, ‘Happy Sad’. This finishes the session with a dreamy vibe, that transitions to a brilliantly well-controlled sustaining vocal anguish build-up in the songs bridge section, and to raise the songs’ hype for the last chorus.

…...You’re still here? The musical therapy is over, see ya’ later, piss-off, saiyonara….. *sigh* I suppose I can hold off going to the pub a bit longer…

The band respond to the overwhelming demand for more with two more songs to finish up with, ‘Lemonworld’ and the bands biggest hit (who would’ve ever guessed) ‘Confidence’. The crowd start singing along straight away and wow, the band really give it everything for these last two! The drums go wild beneath the stand-out horn and bass riffs in ‘Lemonworld’, then the band cleverly flow the raised energy straight from ‘Lemonworld’ into ‘Confidence’, where the singing along in the crowd gets even louder! The songs’ sexy groove with wah-wah guitar effects and the lead singer showing off his vocal range, hitting cool high’s and warm mid to low-ranges goes down perfectly for the grand finale!

Ok done, now I really gotta hit the pub to help drown out my clients’ sorrows, but before I go, in conclusion, the band have made great progress in their music careers and well, live music really is the best therapy, especially when it’s done right like it was tonight!