Down on Brighton seafront, a growing cluster of people in shadowy underground club Patterns await the arrival of London tunesmith Oscar. As the clock strikes nine, the lights dim, the furore builds and the 24-year-old clambers across an assault course of amps and effects pedals in a mystic wraith of machine-made fog. Grinning from ear to ear and wielding the mic for euphoric curtain-raiser ‘Beautiful Words’, he now captivates an audience like never before – a far cry from the shyer, guitar-clutching performer Hidden Herd caught supporting Sunflower Bean at Bleach earlier on in the year.
Of course, since the release of his first full-length, there are plenty more hip-shaking hits in the Oscar live locker and the earworming moments come thick and fast: the Santigold-sounding ‘Good Things’ sways with dub-lite style, ‘Breaking My Phone’ brims with Britpop brio (and benefits from GIRLI‘s pepful backing), while ‘Be Good’ brings the carnival vibes to the south coast and sees the Londoner dip into the choppy sea of attendees for a barrier-breaking boogie.
Naturally, the crème de la crème of his Blur-nodding debut LP ‘Cut and Paste’ takes precedence at the set’s summit, with a swooning ‘Feel It Too’ and a dreamy ‘Daffodil Days’ sending the room into a state of giddy glee. But its during finale ‘Sometimes’ – when he’s joined once again by recent collaborator and support act GIRLI – that Oscar‘s rapid growth as an artist hits us like a ton of bricks. From behind his sunburst Strat, he produces a rip-roaring reproduction of his most hook-packed nugget, which concludes in a colossal wall of noise. Souped up and magnetic, the Oscar live show is something to savour.