Saturday night (June
25) at the Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia,
Liam Gallagher put his post-Oasis combo – and ego – on the line. Against all
odds, the mouthy frontman was newly invigorated and the crowd responded in
Text and Photos by Kyle Gustafson
Britpop is dead, but don’t tell Liam Gallagher. Wrapping up
a short, 5 date North American tour on Saturday in Philadelphia, Liam’s new band Beady Eye
played a strong set of Britpop throwbacks to a raucous crowd at the Theater of
Living Arts, thus beginning the second act of his storied career.
Beady Eye, basically Oasis minus chief songwriter Noel Gallagher, have earned
kudos for their debut Different Gear,
Still Speeding, a collection of bluesy rock, jaunty ballads and catchy pop
that harkens back to the heady days of mid-‘90s Cool Britannia. But more than
anything, this new group seems to have reinvigorated Liam. The last few Oasis
tours have seemed like the band were just going through the motions, promoting
their latest album with the same set of songs night in and night out, because
they had to, not because they wanted to. The spark that drove them at the
beginning of their career was sadly missing.
But now with Beady Eye, Liam has to establish himself all
over again and seems to relish in proving the doubters wrong. His voice, which
seemed strained and in disrepair the last few years, is once again able to hold
longer notes and power through whenever it’s called upon to do so.
Bathed in white light and clad in a green parka (zipped all the way up, natch),
light brown pants and suede chukka boots, Liam bounded on the stage Saturday
and set the tone early as Beady Eye tore into “Four Letter Word,”
presumably his kiss-off tune to big brother Noel. That song’s refrain of
“Nothing ever lasts forever” puts perfectly Liam’s position on his
old band, as there would be no Oasis songs played on this night, and rightfully
so. It would be easy for Beady Eye to drop an Oasis song or two into their set
and pander to the old days, but they are only interested in forging ahead. And
honestly, the concert was all the better because of it.
The 16-song set was a taught affair, featuring the entirety of the band’s debut
album plus two B-sides, “Two of a kind” and “Man of Misery”
and a set-closing cover of World of Twist’s “Sons of the Stage.”
Rockers “Wind Up Dream” and “Standing On the Edge of the
Noise” fired up the crowd and the “Instant Karma”-inspired
single “The Roller,” played in the middle of the set, inspired a
massive crowd sing-along. Slower songs like “Kill For A Dream” and
“Wigwam,” somewhat flat and meandering on the album, benefitted greatly
from their live arrangements and Liam’s live vocals.
The rest of Beady Eye, guitarists Andy Bell and Gem Archer, drummer Chris
Sharrock and new bassist Jeff Wooten, seemed content to play in the background
while all eyes were on Liam. Other than their backing vocal duties, Bell and Archer didn’t
say a single thing all night. Sharrock twirled and tossed all manner of
drumsticks in the air trying to get a whiff of attention, but make no mistake,
everyone was glued to the big guy in the center of the stage.
“I’m gonna stand the test of time, like Beatles and Stones” Liam sang
early on during the aptly named “Beatles and Stones.” That remains to
be seen, but at least he’s back on track with his new band.