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Noel's biding his time for the reunion

CHICAGO - Again and again, negative reviews... they're really so many... more to come. 
Oasis perpetually faced accusations of over-borrowing from rock history, unapologetically nicking words and melodies from the biggest groups of all time. But the band were also skilled samplers of rock'n'roll storylines, arriving in the early 1990s pre-equipped with that classic intra-band conflict, the singer vs. the songwriter. The tension between Noel and Liam Gallagher arrived with Oasis in the early 90s as a fully-formed rock drama worthy of Keith-Mick, Robert-Jimmy, and Rog-Pete, given added juice by shared genetics. With Chekhov's gun inevitability, their squabbles blew Oasis apart in 2009, with the final indignity of forcing Noel, the band's master architect, to quit his own masterpiece project via blog post.
So here begins the familiar second act of the rock'n'roll story arc, the competitive-solo-record period. While Liam and the rest of Oasis got in the first punch (reforming and flicking Vs at their former bandleader as Beady Eye), Noel has launched his High Flying Birds "collective" with a premise that's also rock canon: who needs a frontman, anyway? Oasis history already gives Noel some credibility on that front-- by their second album, the guitarist was already taking lead vox duties on a hit single ("Don't Look Back in Anger"), and the notorious MTV Unplugged episode proved he could do just fine without his brother on the band's other material, thank you very much.
But for a declaration of independence, the self-titled High Flying Birds LP sounds awfully nostalgic for the good old days. Through most of the mercifully brief 10 tracks, Gallagher passes on the opportunity to use this new career chapter for either an Albarn-like experimental exploration or something stripped-down and personal. Of course, nothing in his career to date would suggest "stripped-down" is in Noel's vocabulary. His new band goes straight back to the widescreen aesthetic, with choirs, string sections, horn sections, and choruses aiming for the universal. Noel is still writing for the stadium-- it's the only audience he knows.
Keeping that in mind, a listener can forgive a lot of corniness, even as Noel tests the limits. At this point, it's almost endearing that he earnestly sees no problem starting a song with the lyric, "High time/ Summer in the city," and thinks the clunky "(I Wanna Live in a Dream in My) Record Machine" is an acceptable song title and hook. But the latter track also shows Gallagher can still tickle anyone who once took the kind of soaring-orchestra-and-guitar-solo bridge (think Slash emerging from a pool of water in the rain) seriously. If the emotional power of anthemic rock is quickly draining, Gallagher remains among the best conductors of the fumes.
Still, there are some intriguing ideas buried under the maudlin arrangements and verse-chorus-verses. Often, the most interesting parts of the songs float frustratingly on the periphery of the mix, as with the lap steel of "If I Had a Gun…" or the musical saw that eerily haunts both "The Death of You and Me" and "AKA… Broken Arrow". One place where that formula reverses promisingly is "AKA… What a Life!", which is built upon a stormy piano loop, filtered drums, and Noel's melancholic take on 20 years of stardom.
The song is a reminder that Gallagher might have found a more exciting solo path by revisiting "Setting Sun", the Oasis-related moment that sounds most vital in 2011 (and perhaps the inspiration for his upcoming collab with Future Sound of London side project the Amorphous Androgynous). But instead he chooses to make another MTV Unplugged statement that's equal parts self-sufficient and self-conscious, all but writing in Liam and the rest of Beady Eye drunkenly heckling from the balcony. Founding High Flying Birds on pretty much the same musical territory as his old band, where Liam's snide yowl will always win out over Noel's passable but pedestrian voice, is the album's critical flaw. Forever a slave to rock history, Gallagher feels like he's biding his time for the third act reunion rather than breaking from the well-trod path.

5.7 / 10
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Oasisblues copyright © 1994 - 2017

Beady Eye gigography and next tour dates


30 May - Forum, Milan, Italy (the first "Noeless" gig since 1991 when he didn't join Oasis yet)

summer tour without Noel


16 November - Andy Bell unplugged - Debaser, Stockholm, Sweden (bootleg)


3rd & 4th March - Barrowland, Glasgow, Scotland +here and here + bootleg
6th & 7th March - O2 Apollo, Manchester +bootleg 1 +bootleg 2
9th & 10th March - Troxy, London +bootleg 1
13 March - Casino de Paris, Paris, france
14 March - E-Werk, Koln, Germany
16 March - Alcatraz, Milan, Italy +dvd bootleg
18 March - La Riviera, Madrid, Spain +bootleg
19 March - Bikini, Toulouse, france
21 March - Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland (bootleg)
22 March - Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium (bootleg)
14 & 15 April - The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland here a bootleg image
17 April - Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
20 April - O2 Academy, Newcastle (a photo here)
23 April - Centre, Newport (photo and bootleg)
30 May - Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, Germany
+a photo here + win tickets here
8 June - Saschall, Firenze, Italy +my story here +bootleg here +win tickets here
11th June - Papillons de Nuit Festival, Saint Lo, france
12 June - Isle of Wight festival +story here and here +interview here +videos here +interview and bootleg here
25th June - Theater of Living Art, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
30 June - Rock Werchter, Belgium (bootleg)
1 July - Main Square Festival, Arras, france +a photo here
7 July - BBK Live Festival, Bilbao, Spain
9 July - Oxegen Festival, Naas, Ireland
26 August - Reading Festival (win tickets) +videos here +review&video here +bootleg here
3 September - AX Hall, Seoul, South Korea
14 September - Twinkle Rock Festival, Taipei, Taiwan
7 October - Atlantico, Rome, Italy +main bootleg here +another bootleg here
+win the concert here
11 October - Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland (postponed)
13 October - Gasometer, Vienna, Austria (postponed)
31 October - Theater Caupolican, Santiago, Chile
2 November - Teatro de Verano Ramon Collazo, Montevideo, Uruguay
3 November - Teatro Colegiales, Buenos Aires, Argentina
4 November - Personal Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina
5 November - Planeta Terra festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
12 November - O2 Academy, Sheffield
14 November - O2 Academy, Birmingham
17 November - O2 Academy Brixton, London
2 December - The Warfield, San Francisco, U.S.A.
3 December - Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, U.S.A. +another complete review here +win tickets here and here
5 December - First Avenue, Minneapolis, U.S.A.
6 December - The Rave Ballroon, Milwaukee, U.S.A.
9 December - Terminal 5, New York, U.S.A.
10 December - House of Blues, Boston, U.S.A.


new tour


3 June - Abbey Road, London (acoustic) +bootleg here
7 June - McClusky's, Kingston (album launch acoustic gig)

8 November - Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland


Noel Gallagher solo gigography, and Low Lying Turds tour dates

(although his blinded fans say he's a "new solo artist", it's 20 years he's around and already played "solo" gigs previously (the first one in 1994), with the help of other people of course, as the Unplugged 1996, the gig for Tibet, the tour in 2006-2007, London, Milan, Manchester, Moscow, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Australia, etc.)


25 March - Royal Albert Hall - London


28 November - Alcatraz - Milan, Italy + review here +video bootleg here +audio and video bootleg here


lost interest... even Noel got bored of himself

10 April - Auditorio Banamex - Monterrey, Mexico (cancelled)



fans leave the gig again and ask for Liam again
..... € 10 = £ 8

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