Date: November 4th, 2019
Venue: Club Academy, Manchester
Support: Afterlife / Novelists
With their past two records, California’s Being As An Ocean have been steadily stepping away from their post-hardcore/melodic hardcore beginnings and heading into more electro-tinged almost post-rock territories.
What hasn’t changed, however, is the degree of fervour their acquired fanbase has for the quartet, and some of those committed die-hards are out for their latest UK tour, including their stop in Manchester.
Fresh faced Floridians Afterlife  are first up to an admittedly sparse room to begin with, something they’re clearly unfazed by and give their all regardless. Frontman and Viserys Targaryen look-a-like Tyler Levenson commands and seemingly converts the crowd before him into new fans as they power through the likes of ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘Vicious Cycle’, and ‘Throat’ bears the band’s more nu-metal influences, sounding a bit like Cane Hill if they leaned more heavily into metalcore.
French boys Novelists  take us into a bit more of a djent direction, and it’s difficult to not be mesmerised by some of the fret-work that comes from guitarist Florestan Durand and his seven-stringed axe. Frontman Matt Gelsomino‘s talents are equally impressive, flipping from clean and screamed vocals with ease through the likes of ‘The Light, The Fire’ and new swagger pumping single ‘Somebody Else’.
Set closer ‘Gravity’ proves to be their crowning moment, however, seeing all four members of the Parisian outfit fully carry their flair and finesse, and prove that with the right push they could eventually soar to the heights of djent kings Periphery.
Being As An Ocean  soon come out to the almost completely instrumental opener ‘Intro (The Envoy)’, and from here on out (and as expected) the quartet stick primarily to cuts from their two latest records, ‘PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O. Story’ and ‘Waiting For Morning To Come’.
Recent single ‘Play Pretend’ certainly holds a little more raw urgency to it in a live setting, and ‘Alone’ and ‘OK’ both set a certain spark off in the middle of the crowd that’s crammed to the front against the barrier. Of course, it’s not long until vocalist Joel Quartuccio clambers his way into the middle of the surge of fans before him to sing and scream along to the rest of the set that follows.
Indeed, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the crowd seems to be a habitat that Quartuccio is far more comfortable in than onstage beside his bandmates as he keeps coming back for more, and the fans swarm around him and feed off of his energy during the likes of ‘Thorns’, ‘Dissolve’, and ‘Glow’.
The set’s older cuts certainly get the adrenaline flowing through everyone; it’s hard to not lose yourself and scream and sing along through both ‘L’exquisite Douleur’ and ‘This Loneliness Won’t Be The Death Of Me’. However, it’s the closing one-two of the emotionally heated ‘The Hardest Part Is Forgetting Those You Swore You Would Never Forget’ and the more sombre ‘A.N.I.M.O.’ that reflect Being As An Ocean‘s two eras, both of which expose the impassioned vulnerability of being human.
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.