As You Were

Liam Gallagher Live, Ally Pally

Ally Pally, last week, was ventured to with a big sense of trepidation to see the immortal one, Liam Gallagher. The last Beady Eye gig at Brixton was only 3 quarters full, the stardust was fading. So, would this be a giant karaoke set? Will he be killing the memories of youth culture at its finest?

Fears were not put to bed on arrival. Ally Pally acts more as a wankers paradise than a gig venue. More people were queuing for a 15 quid burger than a pint. Then there was the support acts, Kyle Falconer, once great in The View delivered a bland set. Was this an omen? As for Rat Boy, give it up, just become a Jamie T tribute act, least then they can play some good tunes.

However, 'Fuckin' In The Bushes' drops, and there he is. This last great colossus front man. Enigmatic, angry, and disdaining of what he purveys. As “I live my in the city” leaves his lips all reservations float away. Yes, these are Noel’s songs, but without Liam, Noel would be still be polishing Clint Boon’s organ.

The opening pace is relentless, like Roy Keane tearing lumps out of Alfie Inge Haaland in his pomp. As a result, 'Paper Crown' becomes a welcome break. As do all the ballads of his new album. If there was a ‘mic drop, exit stage left’ moment, it was ‘For What It’s Worth’. The apologetic and defiant ode to brother Noel unites this packed crowd in a way that, previously only his brother could.

‘Rockin’ Chair’ was the only time Noel was missed, as the acoustic solo was butchered. Nevertheless, as soon Liam steps to the mic, the Lydon via Lennon vocal makes this blip irrelevant. No matter the song, no matter the writer, this crowd is one big Jager bomb boshing, bank card scratching party.

As you were!

Liam Gallagher - As You Were

“Gonna take you off my list of to do’s / Gonna sing my soul / Shake of these blues”

The opening lines of ‘Bold’, says all you need to know about Liam Gallagher’s comeback. It’s confessional, heartfelt and, to quote the god like Alan Partridge, Liam has “bounced back”.

Anyone who lived through the 90s will have been worried by Liam’s solo album. He embodied so much that was great in the epoch, another lacklustre effort would render him redundant cultural capital.

As the album kicks off with ‘Wall of Glass, the alarm bells ring. It’s that faux chaos comeback single that plagued Oasis for so long (‘Hindu Times’, ‘Lyla’ and ‘Shock of the Lightning’). However, from ‘Bold’ onwards, a remarkable, almost psychoanalytic approach to his character is explored.

Most striking in this respect is ‘For What It’s Worth’. An apologetic ode to brother Noel set to Oasis via ‘Let It Be’ strings was always grabbing headlines. It’s the honesty that shines brightest though. Calling his brother out on his calculated media persona to accept his apology and get the Oasis juggernaut back on the road is a story that writes itself.

The lyrical directness befits Liam’s vocals far better than the hazy psyche of latter day Oasis and Beady Eye. Whether it’s Lennon via Lydon snarl on the bluesy rock n roll ‘Greedy Soul’ or the angelic ‘Paper Crown’, Gallagher’s confessional style has the effect of healing wounds and defying the odds far more than “Gold and silver and sunshine is rising up / Pour yourself another cup of Lady Grey”.

This is yet again exemplified on ‘You Better Run’. An attack on bands and artists who are just happy to be at the party. Liam reminds everyone that being an outsider is something that you live and breathe. It’s not for Chris Martin to write fair trade on his hands. It’s not for James Bay to put on a hat. It’s not for Ed Sheeran to pick up a guitar. It's not for Radio X to have an all male line up. It’s not for Pitchfork to wank themselves silly over an obscure German industrial influence on a Radiohead album and then slate Liam for being inspired by T-Rex.  

When the ‘Supersonic’ documentary came out, it felt the perfect end point for all things Oasis. It encapsulated everything that youth culture and youth culture could achieve. Like a Smiths reunion, it would detract from the power of being young and dampen their greatness. But, when Liam sings “Let's leave the past behind with all our sorrows / I'll build a bridge between us and I'll swallow my pride”, the emotional side of any Oasis fan will find it tough to argue.