To warm us up on a cold Monday evening, Being As An Ocean came to Birmingham for a show at The Oobleck. The tour had started several nights ago in Leipzig, Germany, but this was the first night in the UK. The show was nowhere near a complete sell-out, but the crowd that gathered was more than enough to bring an electric vibe to the venue.
The first band of the night was Lock & Key [6/10], half of the members of which are local to Birmingham. Their sound was fairly traditional hardcore, but with slightly more complex melodies between the guitars mixed in with the heavy breakdowns. Despite being the first band on, they had several people singing along and they surely gained some new fans.
Next up was Crooks [7/10], who’s music was an unusual blend of melodic hardcore that hasn’t really been seen for many years. Vocalist Josh’s style is some sort of shouting/singing hybrid and perfectly suited the music blasting out from the stage. Unfortunately the sound mix for their set was at times poor, leaving the vocals were slightly too quiet which took away from some of the power behind their performance. However, the band’s energy made up for it; they clearly were giving it their all and the crowd appreciated that.
After some technical difficulties, My Iron Lung [7/10] came on stage. Earlier in the evening, I had a chance to talk to the band and they said this tour was their first time as a band playing outside of the U.S. Despite their set being shortened due to aforementioned problems, they put on an angsty and dashing performance, and opened the eyes and ears of those who were standing around casually waiting for the main acts to come out. The band played a mix of songs off their recently released album Relief and their earlier EPs. The audience seemed to receive My Iron Lung well and they served as a good escalation of the energy level, helping to create enthusiasm for the bands that followed.
Before the show, I had a chance to chat with Vanna [10/10] front-man Davey Muise, who sounded very excited for the show, and boy did that show. The majority of the band’s set was off their new album Void, which was released in July. Their fantastic energy and passion for what they do was visible in their performance, most notably from Davey, who for ‘Please Stay’ and ‘Digging’ got into the crowd and spent the entire song there surrounded by the audience. Even during ‘one song, their tour manager Jonathan came out and joined in on the singing before jumping into the crowd. The crowd participation for Vanna’s set was at an absolute maximum; the mosh pit encompassed nearly the entire floorspace, leaving very little room for those who dared to crowd surf. To finish their set, Davey took a seat on the barrier and gathered the crowd around as he sang ‘Bienvenue’, pouring every single drop of energy he had left into the emotional finale.
By the time Being As An Ocean [9/10] came on stage, it was nearly 11pm and the audience had dwindled a bit as people left to catch the last train. But the smaller audience did not discourage them at all. The front-man, Joel Quartuccio interacted really well with the audience, even hopping into them several times during the set. The band started off with a few songs from their first album, opening with ‘The Hardest Part Is Forgetting Those You Swore You Would Never Forget’ and ‘Dear G-d’, before branching into their recently released 2nd album, How We Both Wondrously Perish, playing the opening few songs off that album back-t0-back. Despite the lateness of the evening (and the fact that curfew was broken a long time ago), Being As An Ocean still came back on stage for an encore of ‘This Loneliness Won’t Be The Death Of Me’, and after signing off took the time to sign albums and tickets for fans.
Overall, it was a really great show. Though the bands were all fairly different, the lineup worked very well in the end. The small size of the venue gave the show a very intimate feel, which was fantastic. Throughout the entire show, the crowd was incredibly supportive of the musicians and created a community feel to the concert leaving them with a feeling like they almost knew each other. Fingers crossed, all of the bands will play in Birmingham again soon.
(Photo credit goes to tglatchamphoto)