PVC Presents: Oceansize + Martin Grech - The Joiners - September 2005

The Joiners is packed. It doesn’t take long to realise that this is one of those shows where the support is almost as big a draw, numbers-wise, as the main act. When Martin Grech and friends take to the stage the bar almost empties, stage-ward. An expectant but quiet crowd watch intently as the band alternately thunder and tiptoe through their set. A good match with the headliners, there is lots of crunchy texture and way out dynamics here, topped off by Grech’s effected vocals. The drummer plays like he’s on PCP while Grech sings, plays guitar or hammers at a floor tom. There is no mosh; everyone is too busy watching, listening. Which puts them in a suitable frame of mind for Oceansize. When they come on stage, the migration to the audience area is total. There is no space to move and everyone around me has the same, expectant face, only now they’re a little more pissed. Alas, I leave it too late. I can see the top half of the drum kit and a lot of heads. There isn’t enough room to make much difference by pushing and when the band start to play,I suddenly lose sight of them. The newer material from ‘Everyone into Position’ sounds a little more approachable than the first album; more hooks, maybe a trifle less heavy. But it is equally as dense and layered. Tones and textures clash and blend over precision drumbeats. There are crunching guitars and haunting keyboard segments. There are soaring yet subtle vocal lines with intricate lyrics. Loud bits, slow bits, quiet bits, fast bits all played with skill and aplomb. But all with an underlying sense behind it of master-plan proportions. It’s epic like the last high hour before the Sunday morning comedown. It’s a big sound too, and the song structures are like cathedral blueprints – you can get inside and walk around them. Again, the audience are fairly static but clearly entranced, completely caught up in the Oceansize soundscape. When the set ends it’s like being a child forced to leave the Science Museum because it’s closing time. A certain sense of having, for around an hour, been allowed a glimpse inside a different universe, one of infinite possibilities and the complex dreams of gods. The juke box plays a four-bar punk song as the crowd begins to leave... it sounds like a metronome, a dripping tap.

Click here to see an interview with Oceansize.