As the legend goes, after seeing the Stone Roses in 1988, a young William Gallagher became inspired to start a band. His band evolved into Oasis, and after an acrimonious break-up with his big brother in 2009, the remaining members regrouped as Beady Eye.
It's easy to look at a band like Beady Eye and make easy pronouncements about the bombast of their music based on the circus that is the Gallagher brothers. When Noel threw in the towel and walked away, it seemed almost inevitable after years of well publicized public quarrels and multiple band "breakups".
But if you expected animosity and bitter feelings from Thursday night's Beady Show at the 9:30 Club, you would have been sorely disappointed. What was on display was a milieu that was equal parts professionalism, bombast and the pure rock 'n' roll swagger that one would expect from a front man who was named the Greatest of All Time by Q magazine.
For all intents and purposes, Beady Eye sounded great. The mix was crisp. Guitarists Gem Archer and Andy Bell (who sounds light years removed from his early Ride days) more than made up for Noel’s departure.
Plus, the band’s visuals – a surprisingly strong light show for a smallish venue and a projection that changed for each of the band’s 17 songs – were top notch. As far as performance goes, Beady Eye earned a solid A. Superb.
Like any proper Beatlemaniac, Gallagher dedicated a song to one of his heroes on the 31st anniversary of Lennon’s assassination.
They (Liam) even have the balls to name a song “Beatles and Stones,” which–no shit—sounds like the two bands, as Gallagher chimes in that he’s “gonna stand the test of time / like Beatles and Stones”.
Despite their love for the ‘60s, the band’s songwriting is still mired in the 90’s. Of course they still sound like Oasis. “The Roller” could have easily been slotted between “Hello” and “Roll With It” on (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
Like the Lennon and McCartney parting-of-ways, Liam and Noel's divergence has clearly exposed the ingredients that each brought to the successful Oasis recipe. Noel clearly brought a mellower, more folk-tinged version of the psychedelic vintage rock that so clearly draped the Oasis catalog, as evidenced by his solo work with outfit The High Flying Birds and their self-titled debut. In the case of Liam, and the members of Oasis who stuck with him, that set of ingredients is heavy on 60's psychedelic rock but of a harder variety, drenched in distortion and echoing delays of West Coast pop and even some boozier moments of bar-room blues on tracks like the barn-burning "Bring the Light".
When experienced live Liam's voice is less whine and more a Mancunian howl, adding a distinct edge that's missing from the band's recorded debut "Different Gear, Still Speeding." "Four Letter Word" launched off the stage with bluesy swagger after Liam's proclamation that it wasn't some "fucking folk song". Tracks like "Three Ring Circus" have an added verve with Liam's distinctive glare stalking the stage, reaching up to the mic in his distinctively aggressive stance.
Beady Eye ended their set with “World Outside My Room” and “Sons of the Stage,” a cover by British group World of Twist. As the band tore through the cover, Gallagher (of course dressed in Pretty Green) walked out into the photo pit and began shaking hands with his fans. Could we have seen a new side to the cankerous Gallagher? Could age weathered his salty heart? I have no doubt that the band appeared to be having fun, removed from Noel’s cancerous demands.
On "The Beat Goes On," Liam sings that "it's not the end of the world...it's not even the end of the day" and despite the gauze of 60's pop that wrapped all the chords blazing from the speaker stacks, the guarded optimism of the sentiment seemed downright sincere.