Review — Ocean Alley Brought the Gothic To Life

Anyone who showed up knew how special the Gothic Theatre was last Tuesday night when Australia’s Ocean Alley played alongside openers Le Shiv. The venue is unique in its own right — the walls along with the ceilings are wavy and colorful, otherworldly even. One might even say outdated, but given the right performers, the venue comes to life. When you introduce a setting like the Gothic Theatre to a band like Ocean Alley, the venue springs to life.

Ocean Alley, touring band

Ocean Alley performing at The Gothic Theatre.

The show was a psychedelic trip down under with both Ocean Alley and their openers hailing from Australia. The five-piece band, Le Shiv, looked straight out of the ’70s with their flared pants and striped shirts. They set the tone and intention in their aesthetic before they played a single note. They were dreamy, poppy and soft grunge rolled into one. Their catchy lyrics and confrontational tone were elements any adult music-lover could appreciate in today’s overwhelming and often disappointing environment. They no doubt carried the spirit of the ’60s and ’70s and added the conscientiousness and production found in music today. If the audience came for the closers, they left fans of the openers given their style, attitude and performance.

When it was time for the headliners to take the stage, you could say they came out with a bang. “TNT” by AC/DC (another prolific Australian band) played as they entered one by one to the sound of screaming fans. The band came to the Mile High City just days after their latest release, Low Altitude Living — their fourth full-length album.

Ocean Alley, touring band

Ocean Alley.

As soon as the speakers relayed the artistic endeavors of Ocean Alley’s work, the crowd fell nothing short of silent. The pure, unfiltered vocals and soulful vibes carried from the background instruments cut through the audience. The silence filled with awe and admiration from the crowd. They carried on like the echoes that barrel through a tunnel, rippling through the venue causing waves of psychedelic euphoria among and between the walls. Their song “Yellow Mellow” gave Colorado a taste of the beachy, ska and reggae fusion made popular by bands like Sublime and 311 but the track was all their own.

Their 2017 single “Comedown” was just that — a slow and lethargic burn with a chorus that was sung by everyone. As part of their discography, the audience happily indulged in a few well-known covers which included their Pink Floyd infusion of “Breathe,” “Comfortably Numb” and “Money.”  They chose to stick to what the audience knew, avoiding new songs besides “Touch Back Down.”

Ocean Alley,

Lead singer, Baden Donegal of Ocean Alley.

Their last songs lifted the audience and synced the venue to their hosts for the night. The atmosphere, the vibe and the music swallowed the crowd whole with ambiance and tranquility. It was therapy in its most natural form. They gave us “Confidence” while offering forgiveness as they ended with “Knees.” Their upward trajectory is imminent and anyone lucky enough to see them should.

All photography by David Cohn