LIVE: Being as an Ocean / Burning Down Alaska / Capsize / Casey @ Mama Roux’s, Birmingham

By Mark Johnson

It’s been 18 months since Being as an Ocean released their previous, self-titled album and with a follow-up on the horizon, this UK tour lands at the right time to generate a buzz. Welsh melodic hardcore newcomers Casey open the bill and though they may have their manager (Being as an Ocean’s Michael McGough) to thank for getting them on the tour, there’s no doubt that Casey are fully deserving of their place. The ambient, atmospheric instrumentals and impassioned, emotionally charged vocals that make their debut album ‘Love Is Not Enoughso captivating is even more intense in a live setting and with a seamlessly flowing performance that belies their relative inexperience, Casey are fast becoming a formidable live act.

Capsize hit the stage running and are certainly keen on pumping up the crowd. A circle pit is demanded within the first song, along with constant requests for anticipation. They certainly can’t be criticised for a lack of effort; the band’s energy levels are palpable as front man Daniel Wand parades up and down the stage whipping fans into a frenzy. As a musical performance however, the quality is way below that of the band’s most recent album ‘A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me’. Wand sacrifices vocal quality for an energetic stage performance and while this is passable for the most part, it’s highly disappointing on the band’s big single ‘Tear Me Apart’, where Wand turns the microphone over to the crowd during the choruses to catch his breath.

This tour gives Germany’s Burning Down Alaska a platform to announce themselves to a wider audience and their set is a thoroughly enjoyable experience that will no doubt earn them new followers. The post-hardcore act introduced a clean vocalist earlier in the year to advance their sound and his onstage performance proves that the investment is paying dividends. Musically the band don’t offer anything genre advancing, but this solid performance shows a massive amount of potential that will start to show through as the vocalists grow and gel together.

The venue plunges into to darkness as Being as an Ocean take to the stage, the performance area lit only by purple spotlights, projecting the band’s shadows across the room. It’s the type of set-up that goes hand-in-hand with the atmospheric prowess of their music and makes for an impressive performance. Powerful, aggressive, yet hauntingly melodic and emotional, Being as an Ocean burst their way through their back-catalogue which is every bit as strong live as it is on record. McGough’s clean vocals are pristine and compliment Joel Quartuccio’s aggressive screams perfectly. Newest single ‘Dissolve’ seemed to indicate a softer direction in isolation but nestles alongside the back catalogue seamlessly as part of a live set.

This tour is a firm reminder that Being as an Ocean are a special band that possess the unique ability to balance aggression with pure melody and atmosphere, and provides ample amounts of anticipation for the next record.