Photo courtesy of The Source Sydney
Over the weekend Ocean Alley kicked off their highly anticipated national tour in support of their marvellous second record ‘Chiaroscuro’. I was lucky enough to squeeze into the sold out Brisbane venue The Tivoli on Saturday for their first show. They played a massive set that would excite new and old Ocean Alley fans with songs spanning from their debut ‘Yellow Mellow EP’ all the way through to the latest record. They sound just a good live than in the studio perfectly blending the genres of Funk, Soul, Blues, Psychedelic and Surf Rock. It was loud, hot, but most importantly it was very special to see this band finally receive the attention they most certainly deserve.
The evening opened with Byron Bay’s Drop Legs that did an incredible job of getting the crowd jamming along early with their Hip-Hop/Reggae vibes. Kiwi funk-soul brothers Tunes Of I followed with a tight set for their first ever-Australian show, safe to say they definitely picked up some new Aussie fans. After two standout performances by the opening acts, the headliners had a lot to live up too.
As ‘Eagle Rock’ blared through the venue Ocean Alley finally walked out to a screaming sold crowd opening their show identical to ‘Chiaroscuro’ with the psychedelic ‘Corduroy’ and slow funk of ‘The Comedown’. They continued with an older classic, the soulful ‘Muddy Water’ followed by the ever-so groovy ‘Hold On’. The band was in awe of the ecstatic sold out crowd as it was “the craziest thing they’ve ever done in Brisbane”. This was evident during ‘Knees’, as the audience and front man Baden sang every word in unison; the last chorus has to be one of the most incredibly powerful live moments I’ve ever witnessed.
They continued to play through their much-loved older catalogue from ‘Lost Tropics’ with ‘Stripes in My Mind’, ‘Feel’, ‘Partner In Crime’ and ‘Holiday’, before reaching deeper into their debut EP with crowd favourite ‘Yellow Mellow’. Ocean Alley’s usual set opener ‘Overgrown’ finally made its appearance to get the venue bouncing followed by the newer tune of ‘Frostbite’.
The crowd and band showed no signs of wear as they went into the song that has set a new height for the Northern Beaches rockers, not a single person stood still or silent during the sleazy groove of ‘Confidence’. It seemed like the band had called it a night after the upbeat ‘Flowers and Booze’ as they left a screaming crowd begging for an encore, before returning to put an end to the tease. Baden took centre stage with his guitar for the stripped back ‘Rage’ later joined by his band members for a melodic guitar solo and thunderous ending to the song. They chose to end the set with the first song written on ‘Chiaroscuro’, concluding their electric performance with blasting confetti to ‘Happy Sad’.
Ocean Alley flaunted exactly why they’ve been one of, if not the most talked about band in 2018. Their live show, crowd interaction and overall performance was absolutely amazing, making this tour a must see before it completely sells out. It was a truly remarkable night and couldn’t recommend it anymore then to see Ocean Alley before they head off to tour North America.
Review by Christian Kafritsas