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Friday, November 18, 2011
Review: Beady Eye at O2 Brixton Academy
They may not be in the same band anymore, but Liam and Noel Gallagher, Oasis’s eternally warring brothers, can’t help but compete. No sooner had Noel released a debut album with the High Flying Birds than Liam was touring the UK with his band Beady Eye, culminating in this performance at the O2 Brixton Academy in London.
The verbal volleys continue unabated between the two in the press, but Noel’s currently laughing loudest — Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds reached number one in the charts, trumping Beady Eye’s Different Gear, Still Speeding (released in March), which peaked at number three. And on this evidence, Liam has some work to do to catch his older brother up.
Despite comprising four-fifths of the most recent Oasis incarnation, Beady Eye are actually a more exciting, musically diverse beast than their former band had latterly been. Elements of blues, rockabilly and 1960s West Coast pop are incorporated into their songs — alongside the staple of post-Beatles pastiche — and in Liam Gallagher, they have one of the most charismatic frontmen in rock.
Yet the band cut uneasy figures on stage. Gallagher’s backers were like mop-topped mannequins, stationary and uninterested. The singer gamely attempted to distract from the inertia behind him, affecting his distinctive pose at the microphone, but the swagger often seemed at half mast.
While Gallagher’s bulldog bravado was manifest when the band kicked off with Four Letter Word, he looked miffed rather than menacing as a beer missile — one of many inexplicably hurled around the venue throughout — whizzed tantalisingly past him, spraying his trademark green parka. “Are you still miserable?” he asked at one point. It was an uncomfortable sight.
In the absence of any meaningful stage presence, the bludgeoning approach of the rockier tunes felt flat. Instead, it was those songs which prioritised Gallagher’s ever-potent throaty whine which delivered the set’s best moments. The jangly, La’s-esque For Anyone and bar-room blues stomp of Bring the Light were welcome relief from the muddier, overdriven fare.
Meanwhile, the toe-tapping, sun-kissed swing of Millionaire — comfortably the group’s strongest song — bore a subtlety of vocal and melody not often associated with Gallagher junior.
The band’s last worthwhile effort (before a handful of forgettable would-be Hey Judes and a lukewarm encore) was The Beat Goes On. “Someday all the world will sing my song” bellowed Gallagher. For now a third of the Brixton Academy will have to do. One doubts Noel is quaking in his boots.
via L4e / telegraph.co.uk
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