Listening to We Are the Ocean you’d imagine their records were geared towards a live set with their fierce vocals and heavy guitar yet at the O2 Academy in Newcastle, this didn’t seem to be the case. They gave a disappointing performance that left you wondering why you would bother seeing them again or giving anything they do any time in the future.
The first support act Allusondrugs did offer some entertainment in head banging dangerous close to each other on a very small stage and their lead singer, Jason Moules, continued to give full energy to the small crowd whilst he seemed to melt in a jumper on stage. They were followed by a mediocre performance from Tall Ships who boasted a lot of facial hair but nothing special in their music.
you kind of want more than “not bad” if you’ve made the effort to go and see the band
The crowd was sparse and this immediately gave it more of a school concert hall feel than rock gig. Poor cheers met the band as they walked on stage. I am not sure many of us in the crowd knew what We are the Ocean looked like so it may not have clicked that they weren’t just more roadies, indicating their stage presence wasn’t particularly great to start off with. They open with ‘Do it Together’ off their newest record Ark and it comes across “not bad” (although you kind of want more than “not bad” if you’ve made the effort to go and see the band).
The set continues and the combination of scream and singing is well executed. They play songs from their back catalogue with ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ standing out particularly because of the strong melody.
At one point the crowd are encouraged to clap, although the clap is simple it is not matched by a drum beat and so the clapping quickly fizzles out. Lead vocalist and guitarist, Liam Cromby, seems visibly annoyed with the crowd at this point. His tone as he asks “Are you having a good time?” isn’t the usual rhetorical one you get with a band gearing up the crowd. He asks it twice, and gets a quiet crowd response since we all feel like we are being told off, and he finishes with a ‘fucking hell’ before going into the next song. Later he comments that the more we have a good time the more they will- “that’s how it works” I believe he said. Not the most inspiring speech to make your crowd warm to you.
it seems perhaps that the band have realised they have a paying crowd who are not impressed by their grumbling about us directly to us
The vocals on ‘Young Heart’ are decent and the guitars on ‘Holy Fire’ make you wish this band actually wanted to be performing because they could potentially be excellent live. Cromby begins ‘Confessions’ with a solo and as the other band members wait for their parts they are visibly bored. So are we at this point. They do their Radio 1 live lounge cover of London Grammar, a positive edition to the set and quite possibly the highlight. Towards the end of the set it seems perhaps that the band have realised they have a paying crowd who are not impressed by their grumbling about us directly to us as before playing ‘Waiting Room’ they suggest they are grateful for all their fans over the 8 years and for all of us here for coming tonight. The sincerity was seemingly there but undermined by their attitude throughout the gig.
They end on ‘Good for You’ and perform with an increased energy making you realise the show would have been improved if they’d performed like this all the way through. They clearly didn’t want to be in Newcastle and, small crowd or not, you expect a band to enjoy performing instead of appearing tired and irritable with a bad attitude. Maybe they are better if you catch them on a less grumpy day. Although I probably won’t ever be there to find out.