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Gig Review: The Ocean + supports, Adelaide

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The Ocean (Germany), Caligula’s Horse & Dyssidia
Jive, Adelaide
16 April 2015
By Will Oakeshott

A rarity had already occurred this evening, which provoked a glimmer of hope and amazement on arrival at the scheduled doors time, a noteworthy line had actually formed in front of this intimate yet excellent venue. Usually a circumstance which transpires prior to the midnight hour on a Saturday night before Jive transcends more into a “club” scenario, but this episode instigated a far more promising outlook.

Local outfit Dyssidia had the honour of opening the event, but quickly perplexed this writer and a number of onlookers also. There is no denying the talent this quintet upholds, front-man Mitch Brackman has vocals, which can soar like an angel akin to Clint Boge (The Butterfly Effect) to a growl worthy of a Jens kidman from Messhugah comparison; whilst keys player Nathan Harvey has parallel ability to the likes of Marta Peterson from the now sadly defunct Bleeding Through. But the ambition here might exceed the enjoyment; lyrics about “smelling perfume” are odd at best and the ballad song-writing is excessive. The track ‘Deja Senti’ was the highlight, at over nine minutes in length and an intriguing flamenco interlude; it certainly brought a fair few crowd members away from the bar to a head-banging standpoint.

Brisbane’s prog-alt-rockers Caligula’s Horse are fast becoming the Cinderella story of Australia. Radio play, a USA booking agent, support roles that bands of all capacities could only dream for, but the five-piece proved why within the space of minutes after their entrance. Guitarist Sam Vallen is simply super-human, this scribe would happily call him the Stevie Ray Vaughn of the genre whilst singer, Jim Grey wailed the suspecting and sizeable audience into a hazy submission. ‘A Gift To Afterthought’, ‘All Is Quiet By The Wall’, a new song entitled ‘Rust’ and closer ‘Dark Hair Down’ hypnotised a very captivated crowd which assuredly garnered many new fans on this night. For the ill-informed, if a classically rock inspired Dead Letter Circus had a child with Tesseract who was then trained by timeless jazz musicians, this would almost create what Caligula’s Horse encapsulates. Beware world; this horse is galloping your way.

It did not take long to realise who this near capacity crowd were in fact here to see with an escalating chant of “The Ocean” practically taking over the introductory music, which when audible was suitably enigmatic. The intention of using this venue was its qualifications to be able to facilitate a visual aspect due to its projection screen. The Ocean utilised this with a beautiful serene collection of footage of a clear ocean bed with colourful coral and easy imagery of the sand bed below as well as a gorgeous woman character. This individual was to undergo an experience of the power of the sea as it reaches inconceivable depths and therefore darkness haunting the onlookers also at the sheer power of this universe. The film worked in perfect sync to the songs the band played in chronological order from their 2013 album Pelegial; beginning with a picturesque tranquil paradise to a practical calamity of maliciousness, it was simply awe-inspiring. When observers were able to look away, the men of The Ocean were playing with the entirety of their respected souls. Front-man Loïc Rossetti was more than commanding in his role even managing a balcony dive at the venue which no witness will soon forget. Guitarist and mastermind Robin Staps dominated in his role as did Chris Breuer.

To finish, the film showed the woman character being encompassed by the sea and its lifeforms to a watery demise; ultimately reminding humans that amongst the prey we defeat and devour, we are but a microscopic and separate entity to that adjoining yet mostly undiscovered universe. But what did Adelaide take away from it all, well like the water that engulfs the majority of Earth known as The Ocean, the band of the same name has to be experienced not just heard.

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