Live on stage: Beady Eye

I’m of the firm belief that Liam Gallagher is one of the few true rock stars left. From his penchant for making ridiculous statements in the press to his cocksure stage presence and bad-boy behavior, Gallagher seems intent on keeping the front-man tradition alive in this increasing age of bland bands and vanilla singers.

Yet it’s clear that at a base level, one that Gallagher would never admit, he’s been taken down a notch or two due to the dissolution of Oasis and his fractured relationship with brother Noel. However you felt about Oasis, there’s no denying they had the flair and fervent following to fill large-scale arenas.

Now Liam and the rest of the refugees from Oasis, Beady Eye, are reduced to playing shows at much smaller venues, like Thursday’s concert at 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., while they build their brand. It’s a savvy (and realistic) move that gives Liam center stage in a rollicking show that proves the old Oasis magic is still there, with a touch of modern sound.

Make no mistake, this was no Oasis show. I would imagine that 99% of the crowd was hoping Gallagher would touch on some of his earlier work, but Liam would never give his brother that satisfaction, so the group stuck solely to its “Different Gear, Still Speeding” album, playing the record in its entirety and throwing a couple of new songs in as well. 

Gallagher started slowly, his voice wobbling through the opening two songs as he did his patented hands-behind-my-back singing move, but by the time “Beatles and Stones” came on, he was off and rolling, delivering his vocals with clarity and sureness.

Beady Eye did a good job of delivering what was likely unfamiliar material to the crowd by mixing up the sequencing of the record, playing the bluesy “Bring the Light” at the midway point of the show to bring the audience to a fever pitch. I think “Bring the Light” is an intriguing path for this band to follow – I’d love to see them make more blues-influenced songs rather than Oasis knockoffs.

That’s not to say the Oasis knockoffs are bad – “The Morning Son” and “Wigwam” would have fit perfectly on any late-period Oasis record, and the crowd certainly ate up the vibe. Andy Bell, Gem Archer and Chris Sharrock are all talented musicians in their own right, and they got to shine on the extended instrumental solos on these songs.

But it was Gallagher the fans came to see, and he played the part, throwing up double middle fingers, pointing out a young woman’s Manchester shirt and telling the fans to get excited, because they came a long way to D.C. (At least that’s what I could understand – trying to decipher Liam’s ultra-British accent has always been a challenge).

But maybe in a nod to getting older and softer, Gallagher, before exiting the stage, wished the crowd a Merry Christmas. That was the last thing I expected from one of the last of a dying breed.

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~ by Elliott on December 9, 2011.

3 Responses to “Live on stage: Beady Eye”

  1. Well written, Elliot.

  2. I was at the show last night too. Terrific all around. I’ll say more: it was outstanding, period. I haven’t seen Noel’s new band live yet and hope to see them in earlu 2012 at the Warner Theatre, but Noel simply isn’t the front man that Liam is. Plys Beady Eye’s album is one of the most unexpected surpirses of the year for me, truly enjoyable, whereas Noel’s CD is predictable and, frankly, boring. I am saying all thuis even though I am not a fan of Liam as a person, he’s a borderline jerk (to be mild), although it seems maybe he’s mellowing with age. I’ve never seen him so good-spirited as at last night’s show.

    As a complte aside, I thought that the openers Black Box Revelation were equally outstanding.

  3. Paul,

    I didn’t see Black Box Revolution but I will give them a listen based on your approval. I do have tickets to see Noel at the Warner in March, and while I agree he’s not the front man his brother is, I thought his album had some bright spots amid the familiar Oasis-y riffs.

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