Liam Gallagher is at a crossroads right now. Finally coming out from behind the shadows of being in a band, he released his very good solo album this year As You Were. Still, there are always the fans clamoring for an Oasis reunion which Liam has made quite clear he wouldn’t be against. It was this crossroads that had him rumbling onto the stage with strobes flashing, to the strains of Oasis Fuckin’ in the Bushes” and yelling out New York Fookin City in that all too familiar Mancunian drawl. Sounding in fine form which was a worry considering he had cancelled the previous two shows(as well as the two shows following this one) citing throat problems, the band launched into the classic Rock ‘n’ Roll Star. Attacking the mic in his all too familiar stance, the drawn out rallying cry of “Tonight I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star” had the audience whipped into a frenzy.
Liam’s band, consisting of former Beady Eye and Kasabian (and fun fact Ringo Starr’s son in law) touring guitarist Jay Mehler, former Libertines and Babyshambles bass player Drew McConnell, guitarist Mike Moore and drummer Dan McDougall were tight, focused, swooning when it called for and had just the right amount of raunchy rock swagger to hit all the classic notes on Oasis faves like Morning Glory, Slide Away and Be Here Now. Setlists for the tour have been pretty consistently the same and the devoted fanatics in the crowd knew what was coming at every turn. After the opening Oasis one two punch of “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” and “Morning Glory,” the band settled into tracks off the new album. Though touched by the hand of electropop indie faves Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt and big hit producer of the moment Greg Kurstin, As You Were doesn’t veer far from the Gallagher template. Loud, brash, anthemic runs through classic British troves with The Beatles always at the forefront. Which makes the songs so stadium(in this case large theater) ready. From the big harmonica infused single “Wall of Glass,” through heavy almost motorifik “Greedy Soul” to the anthem ready “Paper Crown,” Liam stalking the stage with a swagger and belting out with a confidence I didn’t necessarily witness in previous live shows with Beady Eye.
Dialogue was kept to a minimum although of course there were the references to his brother (although thankfully not calling him a potato) and Oasis. Much of this due to shout outs from an audience who while liking the new material would die for a reunion of maybe the last great big British band. Speaking of the crowd, this had to be one of the most packed(dare I say oversold) crowds I’ve ever witnessed in this venue. You could not move anywhere both upstairs and downstairs.
Finally after a perfectly brisk 50 or so minute set, to deafening chants of Liam Liam Liam, the band returned for the push and pull Oasis encore. The blasting “Cigarettes and Alcohol” giving way to the forever poignant “Live Forever.” With hands raised, and audience members on top of people’s shoulders, the latter’s classic rallying cry extended far past the confines of this theater. Then with a love and thanks and a see you again, a great show came to an end of course not without a few more chants. Would you have expected anything less? As You Were….
Opening the show was the perfect compliment to Liam. Up and coming Britain by way of LA foursome Warbly Jets. A young band who easily nails down the cream of British rock and roll from The Rolling Stones to Blur and Primal Scream. They came on stage like gangbusters and didn’t let up at all during their set. While still holding on a little too tightly to their influences, they were fun as hell and sounded great. Should be a cool band to watch grow. As my friend said to me, he would bet 100% they will be playing festivals like Gov Ball next year for sure.
Article: PSquared Photography