"Intense duelling guitars and a cavernously reverbed snare drum ensured everyone found some sort of groove in the theatre."
The Jim Mitchells began proceedings with an upbeat, infectious pop sound that will certainly be the soundtrack of an upcoming summer. Their choruses were catchy as hell, inspiring many a punter to sing along and this humble reviewer to add these songs to his various digital playlists.
Tunes Of I changed the tempo completely with their slick reggae stylings. Dialling down the energy and turning up the chill proved a hit, patrons changing up their moshing for a bit of a skank. The seven-piece were remarkably tight: the bass and drums working as a solid unit and the horns punchy and bright. The guitars were soaked in reverb to deliver a classic reggae sound.
The crowd was ready and eager by the time the lights dimmed to signal the imminent arrival of the headline act. A light-blue haze lit up the stage while north-shore anthem Eagle Rock played in its entirety. Ocean Alley walked on stage sporting an assortment of telecasters, various flavours of Coopers beers and luscious, long blonde hair that would have even made mid-'90s Jennifer Aniston jealous.
The majority of their set consisted of music from their most recent LP Chiaroscuro. Thunderous applause greeted their second track The Comedown; intense duelling guitars and a cavernously reverbed snare drum ensured everyone found some sort of groove in the theatre. This flowed seamlessly into Knees before dialling down into the psych-reggae track Yellow Mellow.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
Armies of girls then climbed onto boys' shoulders to watch Baden Donegal - the lead singer - perform a brief solo interlude. The rest of the band, according to Baden, needed a bathroom break. This solo rendition of Man You Were Looking For proved a hit; without the rest of the band onstage, Donegal managed to foster a level of intimacy that was not expected in such a large concert hall.
Confidence proved to be the track of the night. They played several tracks afterwards, but these were all gentle letdowns from the high that was their most recent single. The entire audience sang along loud enough to rouse what seemed to be genuine surprise from the band members. After the obligatory pre-encore break, they played a few more tracks and finished with a confetti cannon and Happy Sad.
Ocean Alley had an air of authenticity about them the entire time they were on stage; six lads clearly stoked on playing the first of two sold-out shows in their hometown. Ocean Alley were excellent, and really produced the goods live.
If there are any tickets left to their remaining shows, they should be snapped up quickly.