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Monday, October 31, 2011
Mojo Review: Noel Gallagher at HMV Forum, London
As he takes the stage at this, the fifth gig of his first, post-Oasis tour, Noel Gallagher's solo debut album has been available for just 14 days. Enough time, it seems, for tonight's sold-out crowd to learn every word of his new songs. It's perhaps just as well, as nine of this evening's 20 tracks are culled from Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.Having eased open the door to this new, live chapter with a spooky (It's Good) To Be Free and a pugilistic Mucky Fingers, album opener Everybody's On The Run begins a run of six new songs, each a muscular, jet-propelled version of their LP counterpart.
Aided in no small part by the freshness of his new band (and the deafening crack of Jeremy Stacey's snare drum), the likes of (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine and pop mini-epic If I Had A Gun..., are examples of Noel's deft ability to meld the melodic and the explosive, while the melancholic The Death Of You And Me is fast becoming one of the finest songs he's ever written. New, new track Freaky Teeth is the low-slung cousin of final Oasis single Falling Down and acts as the precursor to a two-song, acoustic nod to his old band. Wonderwall - played by Noel in the Ryan Adams-cover style for the last decade - ignites every voice in the venue and is quickly followed by a bare-boned Supersonic. One of only three Liam-sung Oasis songs played tonight, its opening call-to-arms (I need to be myself/I can't be no one else) sounds tinged with melancholy. It's the only moment when the spectre of Liam Gallagher (and that voice) looms large.
If he had any worries about occupying the centre spot on stage, then Noel is hiding them well. His voice is in fine shape and an extended period of rehearsals has ensured that, even at this early stage, his band appear on top touring form. In any other circumstances Zutons bassist Russell Pritchard and guitarist Tim Smith would be considered reserved players, but with the immovable Gallagher at the helm, their moments of bouncing and grooving seem almost frantic. It certainly makes a change from the phalanx of static figures we've seen playing Oasis songs over the last 17 years. A triple-headed encore of Don't Look Back In Anger, The Importance Of Being Idle and Little By Little turn an already sweltering crowd into a swaying, singing mass that momentarily causes the Forum to expand to the size of a stadium. This is what Noel Gallagher is really, really good at.
Speaking to MOJO earlier this year, Noel Gallagher said: "In the early days, the only way you could have a connection with Oasis was to come and see us." 20 years later, with his younger brother having cast the music of his old band adrift, it has fallen to Gallagher Sr. to prove this Oasis connection is still possible. But this time round, with an arsenal of revitalised new songs, you get much, much more.
By Ross Bennett
via L4e / source: mojo.com
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