We Are The Ocean with support from Giants & Great Cynics
Saturday 29th September 2012 – Bar Sub, Belfast
The first support act was Great Cynics, a young 3 piece from London. They describe the music they play as “straight up, soulful punk rock songs,” and have just recently released their debut album in June. They launched into their set with plenty of enthusiasm, and it was clear they were having fun. Their set list included ‘Home Measures’, ‘Nightcaps’, ‘14 Coleman St’ and ‘Jay’ and definitely delivered on their promise of a set full of soulful punk. They were well received by all, particularly by 3 girls at the back of the crowd who engaged in their own private mosh pit.
Next up we had Giants, and boy did they blow out the cobwebs! While the guys put on an amazingly energetic show, I felt they were sadly mismatched in this line up and would have suited a much heavier line up. Labelling themselves as skater-punk/hardcore, the 5 piece from Essex deserve a medal for their performance. They performed with the energy of a 1000 Duracell bunnies during ‘Bindless’ and ‘Highlife’ and I felt tired just watching them. Their heavy guitar riffs, thumping drums and screaming lyrics perhaps weren’t for everyone, but I thought they were great.
I was glad to see the audience numbers increase slightly for the start of We Are The Ocean’s set. This was their first visit to Belfast and they were here to impress. This is their first tour without original front man Dan Brown; the mantel has been passed to Liam Cromby, who seemed completely at ease in this new role. From the first beat of the drums their set was tight. There were some gaps between songs as the guys caught up on the football scores, but no one seemed to mind as the quality of the guys’ sound more than made up for it. Liam’s vocals were under the spotlight but thankfully he did not disappoint. From ‘Machine’, the mix of guitars and heartfelt lyrics filled the room as the set moved back and forth between old and new songs. ‘All Of This Has To End’ and ‘Lucky Ones’ were particular highlights with the audience singing along to the latter. Their songs are filled with meaningful lyrics and you can definitely feel the emotion in Liam’s voice during ‘Runaway’ and my personal favourite ‘The Road’. They slowed things down a little with the stripped back version of ‘Now and Then’ before firing straight into the fast paced ‘What It Feels Like’.
‘Nothing Good Has Happened Yet’ had the crowd singing right from the first to the last line. We were down to the final three songs and Liam chatted to the audience while they caught their breaths. With ‘Confessions’ the strength of Liam’s vocals was evident and it was a change of pace as they lead into the full rock version of ‘Bleed’ which had the audience bouncing. And all too soon we had come to the final song of the night (or evening). ‘Waiting Room’ was an apt finale with the line “I just need a sign to tell me I’m alright”. It was a question they didn’t have to ask. We Are The Ocean were more than alright and I have no doubt that’s the last time you will have the chance to see them in a small venue at a low price.
I would also like to highlight the fact that this gig had a 3pm start; I mean who really wants to go to a rock concert at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon? Ok so the gig itself was 14+ so it is clear the promoters did this to suit the younger crowds. But even a later start time of about 6pm or so might have proved a bit more attractive to the majority of people. Perhaps this was reflected by the fact that the venue was only about a third full.