OCS Live, Kasbah Club, Part Two.

"We are OCS for twenty years now"... That's the way Simon Fowler introduced the band and it's true, we live with them for a long time now. It's once again Paul Weller who showed them first a bit respect in the music circus (can hear it on "Live from the Riverboat") and if the man was all around there's no doubt about it, it's because they're of the family. Albums have been a bit up and down but they're still very impressive live. Steve Cradock is not anymore the very faithful Paul's Lieutenant and Andy Bennett is on the second guitar, so he is the boss. There's no need for Steve to respect the Knitting system between him and Paul when they play together. Simon and I have been really impressed by his guitar skill, never useless demonstration, the sound he can get from his guitar is a fantastic mix of all the best in British guitars in our so beloved mod's tradition, you can hear the Pete Townshend Windmills' heritage, Marriott, a bit of Weller too, a touch of Curtis Mayfield on the way he brings a slight touch of funky chords in the game. He's absolutely excellent, swirling around himself all gig's long and still completely involved in this band, he's still completely an OCS' member.We all know than Damon Minchella left the band (2003) but the "new" bass player, Dan Sealey, is very good, completely a bass player, not a frustrated guitarist, his bass lines are a kind of constant weaving work, he's excellent and Andy Bennett, the 6 feet 10 Andy, is really good too. He doesn't try to play Stevie's part and he holds the band too. He can also sing very well and he did Like an old pair of jeans. Obviously he enjoys a lot being in OCS! Would probably worth it to check Andy's own band, The Elements. Actually, OCS is really a band, you can feel it from the first row. We were really watching every part of the gig, it's easy to see on the videos, we're the two only guys who don't move! Andy and Dan are really a part of the sound and Andy's skill on guitar is very personal and special. He can keep the same pattern all the song to keep a good balance between the two or three guitars. So What about Simon Fowler... He's still the modest Simon Fowler, not an inch of bragging in this man. He came on stage very simply dressed, brand new sand desert boots only (Mod's for life). And then he sings and he's very absolutely soulful, and completely involved in his soul music. Simon is a soul singer with that kind of very expressive voice. He's been backed up by a young red haired lady, soul sister too. You can see her on the Video (thanx again to the taper, it's on the OCS Official Website).

I admire OCS' and Oscar Harrison has always been one of my favourite drummer... Specially the "Rockfield" drumming, the kind of "Tomorrow never knows" one. Can you imagine it? Ringo played it in 1966 and it became a complete way of drumming.

(All the pictures courtesy of Simon Cooper)

They played in that pretty small venue like any other gig, it could have been a complete stadium, it wouldn't have been different, they were really there... The set list was of course good, when you have such a back catalogue, you can't miss the good songs even if it's a bit a pain in the ass to hear people shouting from the beginning to the end for an old song, they're ok but we can also move on and anyway, everyone knows they'll play it... Robin Hood, The Circle, etc. Should move on sometimes... It's maybe the problem for OCS, they had a massive success and a part of the audience is there for old songs... And don't know at all the new ones. The past is a bit heavy sometimes, it's a modern tendency, every band becomes only a best of and a machine to play hits. I like the other idea, the works approach, how will they evolve, etc. Do they have something more to give or should say "Thanx guys and... goodbye"...?

Intensity went up, for sure, when Paul Weller came on stage to play keys and sing on "Piece of my heart" (Janis Joplin, Erma Franklin (deep soul version), Ike and Tina Turner Live at Carnegie Hall, Bettye Lavette (Brilliant version), Beverley Knight, Reggae Version by Mahalia Saunders, the song is so good it's difficult to make a bad version...). Weller has been instantly in the music and even if he looks maybe a bit loaded and started by the wrong chords, his ability to dive into a song in a second is impressive for sure. He just sang this one, it woud have become another Weller's gig for sure if he would have stayed too long and many "Wellerians" were there, of course! Stevie Cradock felt it was time to keep on playing without a break and to keep everyone's up, the end of the gig has been aboslutely excellent, strong intensity, exactly the place you want to be at the end of a brilliant gig. Believe me, it was an excellent one!

Would also add a very special thought for the unknown roadie, you know the guy who also works with Paul Weller as the lady who takes care of sound, Annette Guilfoyle, her efficiency is impressive... You've seen him before every gig, doing his best to make everything's ready and on top. That guy is our unknown soldier. He clutches the guitars, the bass, etc, for long minutes before the gig and he's very kind with the audience... A stupid drunk wanker shouted a stupid thing to him and he ignored it... While OCS played he also played... Mandolin, waves, drums on a complete song and I'm sure he can also play guitar and bass. So, hats off for all this little soldiers army. Gigs just couldn't happen without them. If you know his name, tell it to me ( Dave Fowler? Andrew Davitt, Alex Keyser?)

Simon and myself had a chat with the very nice Andy Crofts about the Moons LP and we went out in the freezing cold night... Could have been a worst sunday... Sleeping, I was dreamin of monday and my dreams will become all true in Soho, around 1 PM. ;) To be continued.

Simon and Yann




Ian said...

like the Elements - he's got quite a good voice. Enjoying your stories.....

Darryl Sharpe said...

Sounds like a great gig. I saw OCS once a long time ago in LA, in a very small place called the Troubadour.....it was awesome, one of my favorites I've been to.