Live Review: Noel Gallagher

Live Review: Noel Gallagher

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Noel Gallagher is to his brother (and former Oasis mate) Liam Gallagher what Slash is to Axl Rose in Guns N’ Roses. He’s the cooler, more likeable member of the pair. The case can be made for Gallagher (as well as, perhaps, Slash) that he is also the more talented of the two. In concert at UCLA’s lovely old Royce Hall, Gallagher lacked the overt rock star charisma of his brother. Nevertheless, he more than made up for this glitz deficit with fine singing of excellent songs – many of which came directly from the deep Oasis catalogue.
Gallagher just released his solo debut album with his new band High Flying Birds and he played most all of it before this appreciative crowd. Songs that came off best included “The Death of You and Me,” with its dancehall vibe, as well as the very Oasis-esque “Everybody’s on the Run.” Gallagher is not overly demonstrative when he performs. He doesn’t grimace wildly during those rare moments when he takes a guitar solo, nor does he race or pace the stage. Rather, he just stands there and plays, letting the lovely Beatles-esque melodies speak for themselves.

The show’s clear highlight came when Gallagher, backed only by just his drummer and keyboardist, performed Oasis’ “Wonderwall” and “Supersonic” on an acoustic guitar. It was so quietly beautiful; you could hear nearly the whole audience singing along — nearly over Gallagher.

Gallagher closed the night with three Oasis tunes, capping the show with “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” which, with its amplified arrangement, forced the singing along crowd to up the vocal volume significantly.

Unlike the last time Oasis came through town at the huge Staples Center, this smaller venue was much more informal. The lighting folks brought the house lights up often between songs so Gallagher could speak directly to his fans, at one point asking them if they’re all students. When they denied this assumption, Gallagher replied, “What, you all have jobs and smoke cigarettes?” in his wonderfully quizzical Manchester accent.

Gallagher sincerely wanted to know who his audience is. Instead of rocking out in front of a throng of nameless, faceless fans, this was about as close as one could ever get to a living room show with Gallagher. It didn’t blow you away, it certainly drew you in.


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