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Looking around the Apollo ten minutes before Beady Eye’s first ever Manchester gig, it’s as if nothing has changed. The Stone Roses blares from the speakers, lager flies everywhere, and Liam Gallagher’s name is chanted, football terrace style, by the inebriated disciples who have already decided where their loyalties lie.
Even by the time Liam strides on to deafening noise in that Mancunian swagger he seemingly invented, squint and this could be Oasis.
Of course, having fallen out spectacularly with brother Noel, Beady Eye are Oasis without the man who wrote the songs that made them Britain’s biggest band.
But if Liam has any cause for regret, he doesn’t display it during a raucous hour-long set that seems determined to banish the memory of Oasis’ long, painful descent into dreary irrelevance.
Four Letter Word, introduced by Liam with several of them, kicks things off with an abrasiveness that barely ceases, the band creating a noise that has more in common with Oasis’ early, us-versus-the-world tenacity than their latter day bloated weariness.
The crowd feed off this, and it is also evident that Liam is revitalised by this reconnection. If you ignore that he appears to have picked up a strange habit of constantly grabbing at his crotch, his status as one of rock’s great frontmen is utterly justifiable, even if the concept of how a man can stand motionless, hands in pockets and remain intensely magnetic is difficult to comprehend.
His voice, too, is fantastic. Having sounded shot to bits in recent years, here his rasping John Lennon-meets-John Lydon snarl is incendiary.
But what about the songs? Debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding sounds exactly as you’d imagine (you didn’t expect them to do a Radiohead, did you?) but being eternally indebted to the obvious rock greats makes for a decidedly mixed bag of tunes.
There are times when you left despairing. Three Ring Circus is the work of a pub band with delusions of grandeur, and the less said about The Roller the better; you may be able to pardon that it steals so flagrantly from Lennon’s Instant Karma, but its pedestrian nature is unforgivable.
Undeniably, though, there are thrilling moments. Bring the Light, the precise point where Lennon meets T-Rex, is driven by a 1950’s rock’n’roll piano to a pulsating climax, but the more esoteric songs are just as promising.
The La’s jangle of For Anyone is surprisingly affecting, but best of all is set-closer The Morning Son, a trippy, semi-psychedelic epic that hints at what could become of Beady Eye if their horizons were to broaden further. For the time being, unruly rock’n’roll concerts will suffice. Over to you, Noel