A lazy stereotype of Brighton’s music scene would be something like indoor buskers and student bands clad in vintage gear. However scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find Brighton’s music scene is rich and vast. Ocean Wisdom is a perfect example of this. The Brighton rapper has been going from strength to strength and received mass acclaim. His delivery is fast and hard and his lyrics expose real truths about living in the modern city. He is passionate, aggressive and sometimes comical. The Brighton Festival celebrates all aspects of the city’s creative scene and leaves no stone unturned in what it celebrates going on in and around Brighton. Ocean Wisdom is playing his biggest homecoming show to date at the Brighton Dome; headlining tonight, supported by fellow High Focus artists Four Owls and Jam Baxter.
Four Owls warm up the show. Their set is tight and gets the crowd loose. For four people all synchronised they don’t miss a single beat and keep their flow throughout. Four Owls are on stage for well over an hour and keep the momentum going. They pass the mic to Ocean Wisdom and as he walks on he receives a huge cheer. It’s a proud moment for the Brighton fans. There’s Albion flags waving around among excited teenagers and adults. It’s a celebration for High Focus as well tonight, the label that’s given a platform to Ocean, Four Owls and Jam Baxter, allowing them to experiment and find their voice. There are frequent shout-outs and declarations of adoration to the label throughout the set.
Kicking things off he takes the mic and tears straight into his first few numbers before finally saying hello. He sets the bar high and continues to match the level of energy through the night. He has a certain cool about him but is clearly excited about the show. Each song flows into the next and he matches the fast paced delivery that he’s known for without missing a single bar.
He raps like it’s a workout, you can hear him strain to push out some of the lyrics. His fast paced style combined with a powerful delivery seems to be draining. Not that this detracts, it’s just visible the amount of work he’s putting in to getting every bar out. Ocean has dethroned Eminem with his style, cramming 4.45 words a second into ‘Walkin’.
He bravely takes a moment to recompose, most songs finish abruptly, but he keeps going throughout the 45-minute set at the same fierce pace. He doesn’t say much to the crowd, taking the occasional breather and the odd “thank you” to the audience. He lets the music speak for itself, ‘Splittin’ The Racket’ gets the crowd fired up and opens up a mosh pit in the centre of the venue. The audience are dancing and moshing around and some are brave enough to try and keep up with Ocean’s flow.
Four Owls come back on for their collaborative track ‘Real Smooth’ as a final goodbye. The artists all thank each other on stage and give a final moment of appreciation to High Focus. The crowd peel off whilst all telling their friends excitedly how good they thought the show was. There are many shouts of “That was light!” on the way out. Seeing someone like Ocean perform that well to a crowd as big as tonight’s made it easy to get caught up in the hometown pride and revel in what was a brilliant fast paced evening.