Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds live at iTunes Festival
- By Jon Bye -
- Sep 17, 2012
The Gallagher brothers are better off apart. It's controversial but from the demonstration that Noel Gallagher has put on with High Flying Birds, it's clear he is a much happier man away from the ball-ache of the much tracked brotherly rivalry and the legacy of that band.
A little muted in character to start with - a by-product of the performance being streamed live - ‘(It’s Good) To Be Free’ is a little wobbly as a statement of intent but shows how song crafting has progressed. Indeed, the band’s performance overall possesses a far greater creative dimension than Gallagher’s pub rock origins. This is proven well by the addition of an onstage choir, resembling the contents of the local 134 bus, on more dynamic songs such as ‘Everybody’s On The Run’, though the effect is perhaps stronger on other numbers.
It doesn’t take too long for the elephant in the room to present itself and Gallagher obliges with an acoustic version of Oasis song ‘Supersonic’. This, coupled with some friendly fan banter, clears the air somewhat of the hanging ‘will they, won’t they’ question and both fans and the band become more settled. With only one album out at present, it would have been a short gig otherwise.
Yet hearing it nearly in full it’s certainly a hell of an album to have under one's belt. Songs such as ‘The Death of You and Me’ continue the quirky lyrical mischief that gained Oasis some of their notoriety, while ‘If I Had a Gun’ explores some more psychedelic territory. Yet it’s the sublime ‘AKA …What a Life!’ that really encapsulates the new direction and vision of High Flying Birds, with its bold soundscape and soaring chorus. Promise for more such material in the future looks good, as new song ‘Fugitive’ demonstrates a heavier yet dynamic direction.
A few more obligatory Oasis hits later – ‘Half the World Away’, ‘Whatever’ and ‘Little by Little’ to name some - and it’s been a great night. Any concept that this band leader was once a troubled figure has been truly wiped away, and the strong cast of musicians he’s surrounded himself with look set to deliver a promising future for this band. A surprisingly enjoyable gig in one of London’s most intimate venues.
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