Even by the time Liam strides on to deafening noise in that Mancunian swagger he seemingly invented, squint and this could be Oasis.
Of course, having fallen out spectacularly with brother Noel, Beady Eye are Oasis without the man who wrote the songs that made them Britain’s biggest band.
But if Liam has any cause for regret, he doesn’t display it during a raucous hour-long set that seems determined to banish the memory of Oasis’ long, painful descent into dreary irrelevance.
Four Letter Word, introduced by Liam with several of them, kicks things off with an abrasiveness that barely ceases, the band creating a noise that has more in common with Oasis’ early, us-versus-the-world tenacity than their latter day bloated weariness.
The crowd feed off this, and it is also evident that Liam is revitalised by this reconnection. If you ignore that he appears to have picked up a strange habit of constantly grabbing at his crotch, his status as one of rock’s great frontmen is utterly justifiable, even if the concept of how a man can stand motionless, hands in pockets and remain intensely magnetic is difficult to comprehend.
His voice, too, is fantastic. Having sounded shot to bits in recent years, here his rasping John Lennon-meets-John Lydon snarl is incendiary.
But what about the songs? Debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding sounds exactly as you’d imagine (you didn’t expect them to do a Radiohead, did you?) but being eternally indebted to the obvious rock greats makes for a decidedly mixed bag of tunes.
There are times when you left despairing. Three Ring Circus is the work of a pub band with delusions of grandeur, and the less said about The Roller the better; you may be able to pardon that it steals so flagrantly from Lennon’s Instant Karma, but its pedestrian nature is unforgivable.
Undeniably, though, there are thrilling moments. Bring the Light, the precise point where Lennon meets T-Rex, is driven by a 1950’s rock’n’roll piano to a pulsating climax, but the more esoteric songs are just as promising.
The La’s jangle of For Anyone is surprisingly affecting, but best of all is set-closer The Morning Son, a trippy, semi-psychedelic epic that hints at what could become of Beady Eye if their horizons were to broaden further. For the time being, unruly rock’n’roll concerts will suffice. Over to you, Noel
Everyone you speak to in here tonight is referencing the past to survive the future.
Is Liam Gallagher the last of the great old school rock stars? Where did all the great music go? Will this be any good?
Oasis soundtracked a big chunk of a generation, Generation Y, generation why not? People who needed some magic in the broken end of Britain, who needed some belief and needed people like them who made it happen despite everything and the Gallaghers did that. And then some.
Crawling out of the wreckage of Oasis Liam brought the rest of the gang with him minus his kid brother and has created Beady Eye and built a shrine to the sixties. A time when things were simpler and people believed in the redemptive power of music, when dressing up and having a sharp haircut could change the world.
A lot of things get said about Beady Eye and all of them contradictory. Liam Gallagher divides opinion but not in the Apollo where the white heat of adoration is cranked up another couple of notches for the prodigal son returning to his home city.
This is a very northern affair from the clobber to the rock n roll to the punters I bump into tonight like Kev from Leigh who needs this to be great to Joe from Rochdale who loves the album and whose girlfriend knows this will be good to a bunch of scousers with Oasis tattoos. The packed hall is wall to wall comb down hair, modesque clothes mixed with baggy and everyone doing the pimp roll walk. These are people who still believe in the power of rock n roll and are ready for something.
When the band walk on the stage you can feel the heat. Liam Gallagher has got the star thing nailed and radiates the swaggering cool that covers the jangling nerves. He’s going to need it because, oddly, Beady Eye are still a new band. The album has been out five days and even if there’s a bunch of stuff leaked on the internet but people are just getting to grips with the lyrics, ‘don’t worry if you don’t know the words, I don’t either’ jokes Liam as the crowd sing along anyway.
The set is short and sweet- it’s the whole album plus their cover of the genius World Of Twist’s Sons Of The Stage minus their own Wigwam which is one of the album high spots- I guess with its multilayers of sound are tough to play.
The album’s mixture of rockers and anthemic, mobiles in the air songs work perfectly. It’s quickly obvious that this a new Liam, he displays the touch of that vulnerability that has made the Beady album so special. He seems more open now and less guarded in the way he sings and even in the way he moves around on the stage- that’s not say he’s lost his edge, he still does that cool, dead eye, impassive stare into the audience thing and still has his hands behind his back- give it everything- hunched mic assault.
The rest of Beady Eye are the other trump card, consummate musicians and now with Andy Bell back on guitar instead of bass, they sound tight as fuck with a rhythmic looseness provided by Chris Sharrrock that gives the band their edge.
The rockers like Standing On The Edge Of The Noise do their stomping Slade meets White Album Beatles thing perfectly. Set opener Four Letter Word is almost Pistolian in its churning swagger whilst Beatles And Stones ambitiously sets the band’s stall- declaring their legendary status in a show of northern bravado that harks back to the Stone Roses- another band who believed.
The Roller may cop Lennon’s favourite descending riff that he used for All You Need Is Love and Instant Karma but then he copped it from Three Blind Mice- Beady Eye know it’s what you do with the riff that counts. You don’t buy into this for originality- you buy into this for feel, for warmth, a little bit of humanity in the hard sell of modern culture and Beady Eye wear their humanity on their sleeve, their touching love of the classics and the belief that high tide British rock n roll can solve everything is quite touching.
If anything is lost its on the more whimsical numbers like my personal album favourite, The Beat Goes On, which is sung with a childlike innocence and touching belief by Liam, but loses the meletron which is key to the song’s sound.
The new Liam is fascinating- you can see him emerging a more rounded, more real version of himself. The guard dropped this Liam allows his childlike wonder at the world and innocence to emerge in his voice.
Set ender The Morning Son- the song that could be about his fractured relationship with Noel works perfectly building and building to a climactic Chris Sharrock driven exit. It’s wonder at the world feel really harks back to George Harrison’s fantastic All Things Must Pass. It’s all quite stunning. It’s also the only vague reference to our kid- there are thankfully no sneering remarks, no put downs. The audience still respect Noel and are asking constantly about his album. The split is perhaps the best creative thing that could have happened to the band.
The critics moan about the band’s lack of originality but, Beady Eye- like Oasis, have managed to twist their influences into their own trip and their love of the classics makes sense in rip off Britain where you can’t trust anyone from the government to the banks- maybe having something this rock solid makes sense. For one hour the people got what the people wanted for once and Beady Eye delivered.