Let’s not beat about the bush, ‘Oasis’ are my favourite band of all time. From the moment my good friend, Kevin Bruce shared the most recent addition to his music collection back in 1994, 'Definitely Maybe' to this day, ‘Oasis’ feature highly on my playlist. In fact, ‘Definitely Maybe’ is the favourite album in my extensive collection and really marks a time in which music became a huge passion of mine. ‘Oasis’, to all intents and purposes are dead, but some of the sound lives on in , ‘Beady Eye’, formed in 2009 and comprised of Liam Gallagher (‘Oasis’), Gem Archer (‘Heavy Stereo’ and ‘Oasis’), Andy Bell (‘Ride’, ‘Hurricane#1’ and ‘Oasis’) and Chris Sharrock (‘The Icicle Works’, ‘The La’s’, ‘The Wild Swans’, ‘Wild Party’ and ‘The Lightning Seeds’). While touring they are supplemented by Jeff Wooton on bass (‘Gorillaz’), Matt Jones (‘Ultrasound’) on keyboard.
The undeniable truth is, ‘Beady Eye’ are a talented bunch of musicians. The band’s debut album, ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’, released in February this year suitably impressed me. I had my doubts having heard some of Liam's previous songwriting efforts (notably, ‘Little James’ on Oasis’s fourth album 'Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants'), but this debut, ‘Beady Eye’ album struck me as a fairly solid offering. This show is one that excited me more than most.
It sounds kind of contrived, but ‘Oasis’ covered a huge part of my life in terms of music, relationships, life experiences and in essence, my 20’s and early 30’s. My first, ‘Oasis’ live experience is etched in my memory forever…Loch Lomond, Scotland August 3rd, 1996. Indeed, ‘Beady Eye’ lead guitarist, Gem Archer was on the line up of this two day extravaganza with former band, ‘Heavy Stereo’. Despite knowing nothing can come close to the high of this particular Loch Lomond show, I had my fingers crossed that this intimate, free Letterman show on June 22nd 2011 and the forthcoming, Webster Hall show on June 23rd 2011 would satisfy my fervour. I’m delighted to say, ‘Beady Eye’ did not disappoint.
Ten minutes prior to the start of the show, lead man, Liam Gallagher’s wife Nicole Appleton (formerly of pop group, All Saints) and their son, Gene took their seats on the front row. Natalie Appleton (sister of Nicole and also formerly of, All Saints and married to, Liam Howlett of ‘The Prodigy’) and a few others members of the ‘Beady Eye’ entourage were in attendance. To the surprise of an excited audience, the band entered stage rear promptly after the entourage got comfortable. The more mellow and mature, Liam stopping to high-five, shake hands and kiss various members of the audience on route to the stage. In years gone by, this perhaps would have been hisses and spits of anger.
The band didn’t hang about and got ripped in to the ten song set. With a six piece band for live performances featuring two rhythm guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and of course, vocals the sound was piercing and pulsating. Before a kiss for the missus and a hug of son, Gene, Beady Eye kicked off proceedings with the first song on their debut album, ‘Four Letter Word’. My initial thoughts were - ”Wow! Liam’s vocals are very strong” and this is a theme that continued throughout the show. This song is pretty raucous with, 'Who' like riffs and psychedelic sounds accompanying those strong vocals from the on form Gallagher. A quick “cheers” and on to the next one, a personal favourite of mine, ‘Beatles And Stones’. This shares the kind of 'My Generation' chords and rhythms that I love, and Liam shrills the chorus with supreme gusto.
Things chilled out for a brief moment with ‘Millionaire’. Despite this being one of my least favourite offerings from the album, it was well delivered and received in the live setting. There’s no secret that Liam bases his music and vocals on, ‘The Beatles’ and more predominantly, ‘John Lennon’. ‘The Roller’ is certainly on this vein. Again the strengths and brilliance of Liam’s vocals are on show in this simple but extremely effective track. It’s one that I imagine football (soccer in America) fans singing on the way to the pub after the big match. A song that gets ingrained in the brain and you are unable to get out of your head. Oftentimes this is the case with songs you don’t like, but in this instance, I’m happy to have, ‘The Roller’ spinning around my mind.
There’s never been any question in my mind that, Liam Gallagher was born to be front man...the man simply loves to perform. Some call it arrogance, and in the past it might have been, but at one point in proceedings, he shared a look with, Gem and they both nodded in agreement…as if to say, “This is good stuff”.
Another of my favourites from, ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ is the zestful, breathless, jazzy, soulful, rock 'n roll tune, ‘Bring The Light’. This was dedicated to his son, Gene who got all embarrassed on the attribution from his Dad. With catchy lyrics and wonderful keys at the fore, they pulled this off better than I expected live. Bags of energy and get up and go. From this, we go to the wistful little melody of, 'Kill for a Dream' which is certainly synonymous with 'Cast No Shadow' and 'Champagne Supernova' from the 'What's the Story, Morning Glory?' and perhaps even 'All You Need is Love'. Liam's voice quality again draws plaudits with his “I’m coming up, I’m coming up” at the end expertly delivered.
‘Standing On The Edge Of The Noise’ is lyrically pretty hollow, but with crunching guitar of the two rhythms and heavy drums, it’s a solid live tune. It’s sung as though it’s a drunken rant on the way home from a late night home. ‘The Beat Goes On’ which follows is another in the soft and melancholy category with keyboards again significant and Lennonesque delivery from, Gallagher. ‘Wigwam‘ maintains the chilled out vibe. Liam asking the audience whether there are any Indians in the house? When no reply was offered, he suggested there has got to be a few cowboys. I think he meant Native Americans (ha ha). He then had a go at someone on the front row for being engrossed in their phone, quipping, “Wait 'til you're out”. Quite right.
Dedicating last song, ‘The Morning Son’ to New York City, Liam stated it’s “the only fuckin’ place that truly blows my mind every time” and I think that was fairly candid knowing that I myself feel the same each time I arrive back here. This is another trippy little track and a very apt closer. There’s a lot of emotion in this track and it’s a wonderful Sunday morning tune.
It was fantastic to see two completely unassociated young gentlemen bonding in the theatre isles with their excited dancing and singing every word along with Liam. It certainly turned the clock back to that epic, Oasis Loch Lomond gig in 1996. Like, Mr. Gallagher, I too have matured and mellowed somewhat over time, but that did not spoil my enjoyment of this intimate show. I had some fears going in that Liam’s vocals would have diminished over time, but these fears were not only allayed, but blown completely out of the water. It’s raw sound, energy and emotion…there are no earpieces to aid him or filters and I think this is just the way he likes it.
‘Beady Eye’ comprises a talented group of musicians, and with the ultimate front man in, Liam Gallagher, they will certainly go deeper than an album or two. The songwriting of older brother, Noel will, I’m sure, be missed, but this was not a marked absence on this occasion. Indeed, not once during this performance did I pine for, Noel. Rating 9/10 (Mrs ScoAustin is asking that I bump this up another 0.5, but I’m generally tough with my ratings...not to mention I think this emotion is attributed to her obvious crush on Liam).
See the show in its entirety here - http://www.cbs.com/late_night/liveonletterman/beady_eye/video/
Four Letter Word
Beatles And Stones
Bring The Light
Kill For A Dream
Standing On The Edge Of The Noise
The Beat Goes On
The Morning Son