Octopuses – The Green Door Store – 29th October 2015

It's been a few years since I last saw the Octopuses live, having last seen them at The Blind Tiger before it closed. They did not really do it for me back then so when I was asked to review the album launch gig it was with some trepidation. The evening kicked off with MC Fashion who must have come on stage bang on 7:30 when the doors opened as they were just wrapping up as I got there but it sounded very entertaining and I wished I'd got there earlier to see the whole set. They were followed by Seadog with a new drummer who was a bit loud for the small Green Door Store room and it spoilt the set a bit. The final support act was Prince Vaseline who were a good warm up band, although I liked the tunes they seemed to miss that killer hook for me to latch onto.
Anyway tonight was Octopuses night and despite the fact they had not actually managed to get their CDs in time for the launch no one seemed to mind. They kicked off with the lovely synth sounds of 'Cool Story Bro' to dramatic effect. It's a nice gentle song that slowly builds into a pleasant pop tune. 'Not The Bees' and 'Circle Of Friends' are much more high energy electro-pop tunes with punky hints which really got the crowd going.
'Space Girl' is like their power ballad with a beautiful arrangement of peaks and troughs building up to a dramatically manic ending. The Octopuses are obviously not shy of trying a few different styles as the next track 'Pogo' has a distinctive ska and hip hop mix that really works well. This was followed by 'Girl' the track they have just released a video for, which is your prefect short punchy single rammed full of power licks.
For 'Not My Dog', the band invited Prince Vaseline's bass player to join in on harmonica and Tom Matthews took a break from the xylophone to play a nice bit of flute giving the song an epic sound. 'Bouncy Castle' saw them return to punk pop with a track the Ramones would be proud of. Killer riffs and high energy guitar / keyboard breaks which make it a stand out tune.
'Acid Rain' produced another change of gear which had a nice dreamy doom feel, sometimes reminiscent of one of The Who's Tommy tracks. Wrapping things up with 'I'm Just Livin' In My Dreams' which has to be another potential single as it's full of drug induced lyrics, a poppy upbeat chorus and the perfect track to finish off the night… They had a few minutes to fill in before curfew so as an unplanned finale they also slipped in a new track.
As I said the last time I saw them it did not rock my boat. I don't know if it's that the music has developed in the last few years or the recording of an album has caused them to fine tune their songs but they seem like a much more polished band now with tighter and very catchy tunes that really come across well. So the night ended with their tunes buzzing round my head as I left nicely surprised and amazed at what I had seen.
Jonski Mason