31 July 2019 (gig)
22 August 2019
Britpop veterans Ocean Colour Scene brought the curtain down on an extensive UK tour with a string of indoor shows across Scotland.
The last gig on their itinerary was a return to Perth Concert Hall and strong ticket sales meant this was always likely to be a lively summer's evening.
Formed in Birmingham back in 1989, OCS have enjoyed their fair share of highs and lows over the past three decades but there remains an appetite for their retro blues rock among a loyal and clearly still large fanbase.
One seasoned gig-goer from Dundee ó just 22 miles east ó even declared moments before their set that this was his first visit to the stylish venue, which given its remarkable roster of performers over the past 14 years spoke volumes for the Brummies' pulling power.
Support act Yasmin Kiddle provided a soulful solo acoustic set that included her playful new single Desire, which benefits from a co-production turn from OCS guitarist Steve Cradock.
The North London songsmith earned further plaudits for her nuanced renditions of Minnie Riperton's Loving You, Aretha Franklin's A Natural Woman and ó best received given Cradock's strong Paul Weller connection ó the Modfather's You Do Something To Me.
If the crowd for Yasmin was sparse, by the time OCS stepped on stage the standing zone was rammed although, surprisingly, there were a few noticeably large patches of empty seats in the balcony.
Perth Concert Hall's operators Horsecross Arts may not have their financial troubles to seek, but this was surely one night that would have swelled the coffers with the venue's bars being besieged by thirsty OCS followers prior to the band's performance.
The ever-dapper Cradock's joined by fellow original members Simon Fowler (vocals / acoustic guitar) and drummer Oscar Harrison, bassist Raymond Meade and the lead gutarist's 15-year-old son Cassius Earl, who supplements the line-up with his own brand of six-string dynamite.
The early set inclusion of such vintage '90s anthems as You've Got It Bad and Profit In Peace helped get the crowd fully onside, with leather-jacketed frontman Fowler taking every available opportunity to dabble in a spot of banter.
Despite their heavy touring schedule, OCS showed no signs of weariness throughout a lengthy set, with much of their material gaining a potency that's frequently lacking in the band's recorded output.
Even their mid-paced and previously rather bland songs like One For The Road were significantly transformed, with Better Day ó from the band's 1997 third album Marchin' Already ó similarly inspiring a huge collective sway and singalong.
By total contrast the impressive Go To Sea illustrated the harder, more jagged edge that OCS developed on later offerings such as 2007's On The Leyline, with the laidback Cradock adopting full-on guitar god persona.
Epic rocker Get Away proved a compelling listen, with the veterans channeling their mod and blues heroes in an eight-minute wig-out that paved the way for the inevitable comedown in the form of Fowler's solo moment Robin Hood.
Released as a B-side to 1996 single You've Got It Bad, the ballad was introduced by the troubadour as "a nursery rhyme we wrote about taking LSD", and while there was nothing to suggest the pint cups inside the cavernous auditorium contained anything stronger than lager there's little doubt more than a few minds had already been blown.
Signature tune The Day We Caught The Train provided a predictably euphoric finish as Ocean Colour Scene ensured they left everything out there in front of devoted followers who simply couldn't get enough.