"We love New York, it's fucking tops" the lead singer states as shouts of "LIAM" cascade around him, near the end of Beady Eyes first New York concert ever. Webster Hall sold out within a minute and those of us lucky enough to score billets were not certain, not 100% certain,, as to what to expect.
Before the first song ended, a wall of sound with a melody as good as mediocre to good Oasis, "Four Letter Word", we knew what to expect. Liam Gallagher in full blown lead singer mode, arms folded behind his back, knees bent, mouth forward and up to the mic. and, despite having a cold, singing in a more mature and sweeter version of his patented Lennonish nasal sneer.
The band are anonymous but talented and the setlist is essentially the album plus a cover. And like Oasis, not much is being done with it. Straight up no chaser Brit rock, heavy on the guitar wall of sounds with keyboards for shading and color. Plod rock but more than that, pub rock, Oasis without the arrogance.
Center stage Liam hasn't changed a bit… no, wait, he has… the last time I saw Oasis was at MSG and they were terrible. This was on their final tour, late 2008, and Liam was bored and snarly and Noel indifferent as he patiently waiting for his solo section. Thursday night, Liam is really into it, he is actually quite chipper if not exactly talkative and sweating up a storm in his standard issue pretty polly zipped up anorak,. There is a joy in performance I don't remember seeing him possess even on the Definitely Maybe tour.
And the songs are really strong in places, he gets all of the excellent "Bring The Light", "The Morning Son" is lovely at the end of the set proper, and the first three, yes that does include the embarrassing "Beatles And Stones", are just fine. At 75 minutes, including a two song encore, it is fast on its feet, committed and a pleasure to listen to when it's a pleasure to listen to.
But, it has all the weaknesses you might expect if you, like me and the rest of the world, are fondly indifferent to Different Gear, Still Speeding, live versions of a good five songs that, drag on the album – "Standing On The Edge Of Noise", "Kill For A Dream" "Three Ring Circus" "Man Of Misery" and "The Beat Goes On" -in other words about 30 minutes,don't improve in the slightest in a live settings; a clear 30 minutes of shrugging. There is no nuance, no color, nothing but a headlong attack and if the songs work, the set is working and when they don't, Liam can't save them
Still, "Bring The Light" and "Wig Wam" might have a way out for Beady Eye. Liam has learnt how to write a song, a little brother Oasis junior, before Noel got too arty for his own good sound, and when he lets the band jam it is a beautiful jam of a sound. And though Liam is too much a hit em and leave to allow any improv to drag on too long, (plus he doesn't play an instrument so you gotta think, right?), time might change him.
So, much like Beady Eye, pretty good. As good as Liam ever has been live though without the great Noel songs. Well done, Liam. Maybe next time round, you can include a coupla Oasis songs.
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