Friday, July 06, 2007

Whiling just an hour away.

I'm not really a big fan of live albums. I might've said this before.

There are a few exceptions -- I dig Neil Finn & Friends' 7 Worlds Collide: Live at the St. James and I dig Dave Davies' Live at Rock Bottom... oh, and Paul Weller's Days of Speed, but getting beyond that, there's not a great amount of stuff that catches my interest. Even by bands I'd love, you know? I'd rather just listen to the studio stuff.

Ocean Colour Scene, well, half of them at least, put out a really nifty little one in 2003 a few months prior to the release of North Atlantic Drift that they only put out through their website and made available to fans in the UK -- I managed to get a hold of a copy though.

Live on the Riverboat captured an acoustic gig by Simon Fowler and Oscar Harrison aboard the Renfrew Ferry in Glasgow in November 2002 -- a gig that, having listened to now several times over, I probably would've given my left leg to have been at.

I've mentioned it before, but Ocean Colour Scene fans are some of the most hardcore, devoted beings you'll ever find. They have and will mercilessly criticize virtually everything the band's put out since 1999, yet when you go to an OCS gig, ALL of them will sing along to the post 1999 material just as heartily as they do the pre 1999 material. Like I said before, it's a very familial relationship we keep with the band. We're allowed to not like stuff they do because we love THEM. The press on the other hand, they can f*ck right off...

Listening to Live on the Riverboat is an absolute treat, because in addition to hearing 18 great OCS songs done acoustically, you also get to hear the passion and delight of their fans. Here are my three favorite instances:

Simon Fowler & Oscar Harrison - I Wanna Stay Alive With You
This is probably my favorite OCS tune and arguably one of the five greatest love songs ever written. It's not really valentine material -- it has more to do with the seeming wear of the road in foreign countries, but the way "I wanna stay alive with you, yeah I wanna stay alive with you" is repeated so passionately as a chorus works to stunning effect. Sans the guitar wizardry of Steve Cradock, Fowler is left to vocalize the lead guitar part. He only has to do "Ba ba ba!" once though - the crowd takes the part the rest of the way. A gorgeous reading.

Simon Fowler & Oscar Harrison - It's My Shadow
Arguably the most underrated track on the boys' landmark Moseley Shoals album. It starts off kind of boring... a slow acoustic ode to a shadow, but it builds and takes some great turns - namely the "Happy in the time when I would've been there to see you" and the "If my shadow comes a creepin'" bits. The best, however, is the ending repitition of "When you find that things are getting wild is that the hardest smile that you could ever feel?" which the crowd here apparently enjoys just as much as I do and refuses to let Simon & Oscar finish when they otherwise might have. Oh and Simon also vocally mimicks Cradock's guitar part near the end which is... hilarious. My roommate Tom and I found it so funny that we used to mimic it ourselves all the time in college which would really piss our other two roommates off. I can't imagine why?

Simon Fowler & Oscar Harrison - The Day We Caught the Train
Anyone who's ever seen the band live knows how much of a monster this song is when performed live - even when electric, the audience can almost overpower the band. And anyone who's heard the song can imagine what a monster it is live. Unsurprisingly, it goes down a storm here, and unquestionably the best bit is the audience SCREAMING that "whole wide world" bit before it goes into the final "Oh oh, la la" part. It's distorted to an almost unintelligible effect on Moseley Shoals, but it shows you just how much the fans listen and discern every damn bit of their songs. Oh, and Simon's praise of the E minor chord at the beginning is also pretty great.
It's fun to be in a family like that.
Have a good weekend, all.



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