First Night: Beady Eye, Barrowlands, Glasgow
Life after Oasis– and Liam's still a rock'n'roll star
Friday 04 March 2011
It was surely no coincidence that Liam Gallagher chose Glasgow's most fiery venue for this debut live appearance by his post-Oasis project. His old band had its ups and downs – internally and in terms of critical reception over their lifespan – but this city remained vocal in its appreciation of their supremely confident self-possession.
Really, all he had to do was turn up and be himself, and the wildest of receptions was assured.
With the Stone Roses' "I Am the Resurrection" heralding Beady Eye's arrival (appropriate, given Gallagher's unspoken need to position himself as the sole star of what was once a two-Gallagher show), the already onside crowd greeted the singer with a chant of his own name. In return, he granted them one of the great understated entrances – a slow slouch to the mic and then an accusing "try fuckin' harder". Everyone duly obliged. The king is surely back, as far as his people are concerned.
Backed by a five-piece live band that included all three of Oasis's members at their dissolution, bar the only one who quit, Liam's brother Noel, Gallager kicked off with "Four Letter Word". It was a typically brash and confident opener from the Barbour-jacket wearing singer. "Nothing ever lasts forever," the lyrics declare in loaded fashion. "A four-letter word really gets my meaning." As ever, and despite the clothing label and the millions in the bank, Liam Gallagher on the live stage still resembles a curse word made primal flesh.
Those old reference points stand unchanged, as was in evidence by the second track, a beat group shuffle speeded up to manic pace named "Beatles & Stones". It was, perversely, one of the highlights of the set, an homage to the relatively narrow range of influences Gallagher enjoys, but still a world away from the string-laden "Hey Jude" and Imagine-isms which Oasis flogged long past death.
Credit is due here, because this band sound encouragingly refreshed, an assertion that could very rarely be levelled at Oasis in their later years. Of course there was nothing here to alienate the longtime, Knebworth-attending devotee, but you realise watching them that Beady Eye are in the very unique position of possessing iconic impetus while being newly unchained from the weight if their past.
The set veered from expansive Floydian psychedelia to the pleasing La's jangle of "For Anyone". These and "The Roller", a comeback song which dared to stroll at its own pace, all came early in the set and were greeted with that most Glaswegian of appreciation gestures, the thrown (plastic) pint glass.
A decision had clearly been taken to play no Oasis songs. It was a brave and creditable choice, although this meant the set stretched to only an hour and suffered a fallow period in the middle. Yet Gallagher noted this with a pithy "right, this is another new song" before the All the Young Dudes-like epic "The Beat Goes On", declaring "stick with us, we'll have more by next year." This is a band to stick with through enjoyment more than force of habit.
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