THE OCEAN. Hidden Agenda, Hong Kong. 30.09.11

An industrial estate in suburban Hong Kong (as suburban as HK gets anyway) might be the setting for the capitalist interlude in The Ocean‘s tour of China but being on the sixth floor of a secluded warehouse, Hidden Agenda isn’t the easiest of places to find.

The temporary bar, dangerously low levels of lighting, and casual separation between said bar and the main viewing area actually provide a beautifully intimate environment in which to perform/enjoy progressive metal, or any other intense performance, for that matter.

Following a dubious opening act, The Ocean deliver the sort of engaging set that’s standard for them now, screaming their hearts out and playing their balls off (or screaming their balls off and playing their hearts out, if you’d prefer). They play for 90 minutes with, not for or at their audience. Everyone knows all the songs, half the band go crowd-surfing at some point or another, and by the time the encore explodes into earshot, as crushingly exquisite as the rest of the set, most of the crowd are on stage alongside the band.

150 people were privileged to this rare treat in a city where confrontational art is hard to come by.

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