It’s late afternoon and the dull, grey clouds that have occupied the sky throughout the morning are reluctantly pushed aside by the ever persistent rays of the warm mid-September Sunshine. Seductively, creeping up behind the 13th century walls of the second biggest castle in Europe, the sun warmly welcomes the crowds to the historic town of Caerphilly.
A wide variety of fans, both old and new have travelled from near and far; all intent on reminiscing the soundtrack that filled the care-free days of the glorious 1990’s. Tonight they are privileged to be enjoying the live music of Brit pop legends, “Ocean Colour Scene” as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their most successful album, “Mosley Shoals”. Released in 1996, the name of the album is a fond dedication to the band’s original hometown of Mosley in Birmingham. Although the album didn’t quite make #1 in the charts, it has proved itself to be one of the most well-loved albums of that era; encapsulating the raw excitement and magic of the original Brit pop movement that took place over two decades ago.
The suspense builds heavily throughout the castle courtyard as the lights dim down and the crowd cheer as they welcome Ocean Colour Scene to the stage. The band open with an impressive cover of the Beatles classic, “Day Tripper”; a track which was originally recorded as a live B-side to “The Circle”. The famous opening rifts send the crowd into a frenzy and it’s not long before everyone is singing along.
The song is perhaps a fond reminiscent of the times the band performed on stage with the Gallagher brothers during the peak of their success in 1994. After listening to the band’s demo, Noel Gallagher proceeded to invite Ocean Colour Scene to join Oasis as their opening act at their famous Knebworth gigs. The demand for tickets was in fact so high it was recorded as the biggest in UK history; with a combined audience of over 250,000 fans. Although the crowd that form tonight’s audience are so much smaller in comparison, it’s still clear to see why Noel Gallagher chose Ocean Colour Scene to open the biggest Oasis concert of all time.
The original excitement of the opening track enhances once the band start to play the opening riff from one of their most well-known singles, “The Riverboat Song”. The pure energy of the crowd is entirely captivating as they continue to sing along to every word. The ancient 13th century building impressively amplifies every note as the Led Zeppelin-esque influenced riff echoes throughout the historic building.
Ocean Colour Scene prove they are far more than just a ‘one hit wonder’ when they proceed to perform, “The day we caught the train”. This was perhaps one of the most well received songs of the entire evening. Several fans went out of their way to express how impressed they were with the sound of the acoustics within the courtyard of the castle and it’s almost as if it was built for this very purpose.
As another dedication to Oasis, Simon surprises the crowd as he proceeds to sing the classic opening lines of one of Noel Gallagher’s most famous anthems, “Live Forever”. The crowd show no hesitation in singing along to every word and proudly continue the song to the chorus as it hauntingly echoes throughout the castle walls. Simon smiles in approval and the band look on fondly as the crowd join the band in celebrating the music that helped inspire OCS throughout the early days of their career.
The band do not disappoint and continue to perform a most impressive set-list including, “One For The Road”, “The Circle”, “Profit in Peace” and ending with the “Hundred Mile High City”.
As the show draws to an end, it’s clear that Ocean Colour Scene are just as relevant and important to their fans today as they were 20 years ago; setting the standards high for any other band that are lucky enough to perform at not only the biggest castle in Wales, but one of the most beautiful venues in Europe. Wales’ biggest independent music promotion company Orchard did a remarkable job in arranging an evening that not only demonstrated the magic of live music but also captured the true beauty of Caerphilly’s unique heritage.
Written By: Samantha Swindlehurst
Event Photography By: Neil Swindlehurst
Castle Photograph By: Dean Taylor