@ Newcastle o2 Academy, September 18 2010

Every band needs a time-out to let off steam and allow their creative cogs to function but coming back to the intensity of live performances isn’t easy.  After more than half a year out, Oceansize met a hungry Newcastle crowd to crown their return to the stage in style.

Northern Ireland’s Mojo Fury succeeded in giving a respectable warm up to get things started with some raucous hard rocking to remember.

With any murmur of the term ‘math rock’, you automatically think of numerical and technical connotations.  This Town Needs Guns reminded everyone why the term is dubbed as it is.  Highly complex guitar finger-picking, and off-beat time signatures feature heavily in their sound.

Drumming for a band such as this one can’t be simple, but Chris Collins showcased his fantastic ability to hold the quirky Oxford band together.  To really convince the already approving fans, Lemur allowed frontman Stuart Smith to show that This Town Needs Guns have the energy as well as the talent, with his very unique style of showmanship.  Precision is their game, and they’re masters of it.

It’s always been a regular occurrence in rock music that borders on cliché, but creating anticipation at the beginning of a performance with ear piercing feedback still works.  Oceansize arrived through a sea of distortion to smash into the slow trudging beat of Part Cardiac.  Their timing couldn’t have been any better.

With their intricate progressions, they veered from furiously aggressive riffs to serene and dreamy interludes – a skill that the Manchester band smoothly pulled off.

For a band that had their last concert in February, they showed no signs of seizing up.

Music For A Nurse was unbelievable.  The song would neutralise panic if the world were coming to an end, and instead cause a reflective state for all those within the radius of its beauty.  Lovely harmonising between Steve Durose and Mike Vennart gave the track its tranquil but melancholic edge.

Blending various genres, Oceansize have a mindboggling diversity of sounds that reside together in melodic unison, bonded by intelligent structures and professionalism. Silent/Transparent epitomised the progressive mastery on show. After steadily building a tempo with some rumbling toms on the kit, the five-piece let loose with all they had and continued through the differing tiers of tempo.

Ornament/Last Wrongs was a perfect song for the band to leave before the encore, giving fans a desire for more.

This is only the start of their UK tour, but this maiden performance has already shown an Oceansize in fine form and raring to go.

Calum Robson