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BEADY EYE @ THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER 07/3/11 – REVIEW BY PHIL KING

It takes a lot of time and effort to establish a reputation as one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time.  It takes years of continually producing great songs then endlessly circling the globe playing these anthems to millions, creating in the process a legacy of work that a band can be truly proud of.  Unfortunately it only takes moments to put it all in jeopardy, which is what happened when the dark storm clouds that seemed to form with startling regularity around the Gallagher brothers finally broke the band in two.  Now, with spring almost upon us, new shoots are starting to emerge from the wreckage of Oasis, and, rather unexpectedly it’s Liam Gallagher who’s returned fronting a new band of old faces. It wasn’t hard to guess what kind of sounds would leap from the grooves of Beady Eye’s first offering ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ through anyone expecting Liam, Gem, Andy and Chris to embark on some great musical re-invention could only be considered delusional.  Of course everybody wanted it to be a great piece of work, if only so it doesn’t tarnish the past achievements of Oasis.  Still, we needn’t have worried because although Beady Eye’s record isn’t ‘Definitely Maybe’ the noise Liam and the boys bring is a great mix of un-reconstituted rock ‘n’ roll, complete with a pulsing heart and a healthy fuck you attitude.  The next stage in Beady Eye’s masterplan is to see how these new songs sound played at full volume, which is why I’m sat high up in the circle of the Apollo Theatre waiting to see the band play their second Manchester date on the current tour.

Interestingly tonight I’m accompanied by Jennifer, a cool American scriptwriter who’s laying low in Manchester for a few months and in the process of forming an intimate relationship with this great city of ours.  Obviously she’s heard of Oasis and she’s as mad fer it as everyone else is tonight, and, like everyone else she's equally intrigued to see how Beady Eye’s performance unfolds this evening.  I’m interested in her opinion of the sights and sounds of this special Manchester gathering so I can get a perspective from someone outside the scene.

The support act tonight is the very capable Miles Kane who entertains the steadily growing crowd with a set of skillfully crafted songs.  The crowd takes to him immediately and by the time he introduces the last song, ‘Inhaler’ there is quite a few people who’ll be looking to check out his recorded work. 

As the stage is being prepared for the arrival of the headliners, you can feel the tension steadily mounting in the theatre.  There’s a fine selection of Manchester music playing through the PA that culminates in an uproariously crowd assisted ‘I Am The Resurrection’.  What is it about a massed choir of drunken Mancunian voices that always gets the heart thumping?  Then, as the final notes of the Stone Roses classic dies away and at the point where reds meets blue, the lights fade out and the evening reaches fever pitch as the six handed Beady Eye swagger onto the Apollo stage.  With a live sound that’s more spit than polish - and feeling all the better for it - Beady Eye let rip by lunging straight into compelling opener ‘Four Letter Word’.  A breathless gallop through ‘Beatles and Stones’ follows close behind and it’s plain to hear that these songs are more vibrant and have more impact in a live setting than on the new record though it’s also true that every song played tonight still remains light on it’s feet.

Though Beady Eye is definitely a band in every sense of the word, the star of the show is undoubtedly Liam Gallagher.  Unusually for a front man considered one of the wildest in rock, Liam Gallagher moves very little on stage, in fact for long periods of the hour long set he’s almost static.  None of this matters however because Liam Gallagher owns a voice that's arguably one of the greatest in rock ‘n’ roll and he oozes enough confidence to hold everyone’s attention for the whole of Beady Eyes set.  He snarls his way through the full-on boogie of ‘Bring The Light’ and donates a malevolent croon to ‘Kill For A Dream’  

The blissful dizziness of ‘Morning Son’ bring the set to a fitting close only to see the band return to deliver a rave-up cover of World of Twists’ ‘Sons of the Stage’.  Near the end of the song Liam strides out to the lip of the stage, and looks out over the audience.  You can see that he’s obviously back where he belongs, fronting a shit hot rock band hich will thankfully keeping his hard earned reputation fully intact.       

When it’s finally over I turn to Jennifer and ask her what she thought of it all and she replies in her lively West Coast accent “I really liked that!” And, for all it’s simplicity, I wish I’d have thought of it because it’s the prefect summation of Beady Eye’s good time rock ’n’ roll.

Setlist:

Four Letter Word
Beatles And Stones
Millionaire
For Anyone
The Roller
Wind Up Dream
Bring The Light
Standing on the Edge of the Noise
Kill For A Dream
Three Ring Circus
Man of Misery
The Beat Goes On
The Morning Son

Encore:

Sons of the Stage

http://www.beadyeyemusic.com

Review & photos by Phil King
Video: youtube PGTipsification