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Friday, March 11, 2011
Financial Times Review: Beady Eye @ Troxy, London
A glance at the cloakroom rail is sufficient to tell us that Liam Gallagher is in town. The number of parkas testifies to how much he continues to be idolised, and imitated, by a sizeable tranche of British manhood – enough to propel Different Gear, Still Speeding, the debut album by his new band, Beady Eye, to number three in the UK charts. Beady Eye, of course, are Oasis minus their chief songwriter, Liam’s brother Noel.
Listening to the album, Liam’s lyrics – clunky as they are – seem more unguarded than ever (“I’m never giving up until the dream is real” etc) and his vocals – waning as they might be – more vulnerable than we’ve heard before. Little of his sensitive side comes over in live performance. “Millionaire”, say, is beefed-up but stodgy. Yet sensitivity is not what the fans came for. As usual, the microphone’s position forces him to leer up at it, like a primate hanging tough. Otherwise, he stands motionless, hands in pockets. I’m probably alone here in thinking his green coat resembles surgical scrubs or a maternity smock. The crowd bays, “Leee-um, Leee-um.”
To the delight of those fans, Gallagher’s appetite for the fray has returned. You do wish, though, that his tastes were more adventurous. They are the musical equivalent of sausage and mash, with Dijon mustard an occasional exoticism. The example of the modfather, Paul Weller, who has dined lately on krautrock, antique folk and free-jazz influences, can’t be lost on Gallagher, can it?
None of the Beady Eye songs needs to take a paternity test: their bloodlines are obvious. “Beatles and Stones” splices the jitter of The Who’s “My Generation” and the chatter of Dylan’s “From a Buick 6” (intentionally, I assume); “For Anyone” jangles tunefully like “There She Goes” by The La’s; while “Kill for a Dream”, a rather tired ballad, echoes the “Hey Jude” outro.
Only “Bring the Light” hurtles anywhere fast. “This one’s for Chas ’n’ Dave,” says Gallagher, introducing it – the kind of pub-banter quip, sharper than it sounds, that makes him such a lovable rogue. High on its Jerry Lee Lewis-ish piano and the Velvet Underground’s amphetamines, this track is the standout by miles.
The solitary encore taps some of Gallagher’s power of old and a “Gimme Shelter”-type grandeur. It is “Sons of the Stage”, by the never-made-it-but-not-forgotten Manchester band World of Twist. A flashback to the early 1990s, to younger, hungrier days.
It figures. 3 star rating
via L4e / source: ft.com
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