Beady Eye @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney (27/1/2014)
Having been the voice to some of the greatest British rock ‘n’ roll of the 1990s (and 2000s, depending on who you talk to), the debut Australian visit from Liam Gallagher and his cohorts finally provides an opportunity to see what Beady Eye has to offer this post-Oasis world.
Openers Davey Lane and The Pugs tore through a selection of tracks from last year’s EP The Good Borne of Bad Tymes as well as tracks slated for release sometime this year, including the woozy ‘Headley Grange’, the bombastic ‘Last Of the Freakazoids’ and stomping set-closer ‘Shopping’.
Two years ago, the Enmore was the site of the triumphant debut Australian headlining show for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The electrifying atmosphere lead Gallagher to later label the show “A truly great gig. The best one of the entire tour.” Fast forward to 2014 and the same venue serves as host to the one and only headlining show on this tour for the other group to emerge following Oasis’ 2009 split, Beady Eye.
Even with his trademark shaggy barnet gone in favour of a more streamlined, skinhead-like ‘do, the silhouette of a swaggering Liam Gallagher hitting the stage was unmistakable. He and the band were given a heroic reception from the crowd. One of the highlights of last year’s second album, BE, the horn-driven ‘Flick Of The Finger’ kicked things off in a majestic fashion. The horns coming from somewhere in the ether accentuated the trippiness of the track.
‘Face The Crowd’ and ‘Four Letter Word’ worked as a solid one-two punch of anthemic, blustery rock. Gallagher’s voice – the subject of criticism in the last decade for its deterioration – held up surprisingly well as he sneered his way through the set. The spacey ‘Soul Love’ exhibited that he has more range than just the throaty growl most would associate with him. The first half of the show concluded with several of the better tracks from BE, ‘Second Bite of the Apple’, ‘Iz Rite’ and ‘Shine A Light’. Then they played ‘Wonderwall’, the song even people who don’t like Oasis know and the song that will forever be associated with both of the Gallagher brothers.
“They need to shy away from playing their former leader’s songs”
While Noel peppered his set with a handful of Oasis songs that he’d written, hearing Beady Eye play Noel-penned songs (they later played a decent ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’) felt like a giant misstep. If Beady Eye want to prove they can step out of Noel’s shadow and be their own band, they need to shy away from playing their former leader’s songs; even if they feel they have some kind of ownership of them as well. Liam, along with Gem Archer and Andy Bell, contributed a handful of solid songs to Oasis on the last three albums. It would feel far more natural for them to play songs like ‘Turn Up The Sun’, ‘To Be Where There’s Life’ and ‘Songbird’ instead. It’s little wonder there were shouts for more Oasis songs as the set went on.
The back end of the show felt stifled by the detour into Oasis. Only early Beady Eye singles ‘Bring The Light’ and ‘The Roller’ really livened the atmosphere. The barrelhouse thump of ‘Bring The Light’ particularly got the crowd at front going.
Another odd moment occurred during the encore when they band rounded out the night with a cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’. Much like the Oasis cover of ‘Street Fighting Man’, it’s a nice idea in theory but doesn’t work. The one highlight of this was hearing Chris Sharrock stylishly belting through the Charlie Watts drum part. It was a strange ending to a mostly enjoyable but, at times, frustrating show. Maybe, for the time being, the past should be forgotten. At least until the reunion tour.
Beady Eye setlist:
Flick of the Finger
Face the Crowd
Four Letter Word
Second Bite of the Apple
Shine a Light
The World’s Not Set In Stone
I’m Just Saying
Soon Come Tomorrow
Cigarettes & Alcohol
Bring the Light