all words: Andy Johnson
all photos: Shauna Alexander
As the legend goes, after seeing the Stone Roses in 1988, a young William Gallgaher 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. Upon forming his band, Gallagher said, “The world is crying out for a great rock’n’roll band. It has been for ages, man. That’s why the time is right for Beady Eye.” That’s why it was fitting that the song that the 9:30 Club (or the band?) chose to introduce the act was the Roses’ “I Am The Resurrection,” a searing combination of the indie rock and psychedelia that (along with the Beatles) was the template the Gallagher brothers used to write some of the biggest anthems in British history.
Unfortunately for us Oasis fans, Beady Eye is not the resurrection we were hoping for.
The opening act, the Brussels-based Black Box Revelation, can be summed up as diet Black Keys, a bluesy duo that attempts to merge the Rolling Stones’ 70’s output with Definitely Maybe-era Oasis. They played songs from their new album, My Perception, but for this concertgoer who knew nothing about the band, I can’t deny that I found myself won over by the band’s enthusiasm by the end of their brief set, with a special recognition to the album’s title track, where singer/guitarist Jan Paternoster blasted, “My perception lost connection / My perception a new dimension.”
After the aforementioned “I Am The Resurrection,” the sextet took the stage, with lead singer Liam Gallagher dressed in some sort of smock with a scarf. The band immediately kicked into “Four Letter Word,” where Gallagher, his arms tucked behind him in his signature pose, sang, “I don’t know what it is I’m feeling / A four letter word really get’s my meaning.”
For all intents and purposes, the band 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 21st anniversary of Lennon’s assassination. But if Oasis is a derivative of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, what does it mean that Beady Eye is a derivative of a derivative? I mean they 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.” Maybe you should see where Different Gear, Still Speeding ranks on some year-end lists before you make a proclamation like that.
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? Even songs like that sound removed from the Oasis-Pulp-Blur triumvirate, such as “Bring The Light,” with its twinkling piano, are undone by Liam’s pointless blathering of “Well, baby come on, come on, come on, come on, come on.” Then again, I’ve championed a song that features the lyric “Slowly walking down the hall / faster than a cannonball,” so my taste can certainly be called into question.
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 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’m not sure, but I have no doubt that the band appeared to be having fun, removed from Noel’s cancerous demands. But, I’ve always been a Noel fan. He wrote the songs, provided the creative vision, and despite his little brother’s role as lead singer, it was Noel who provides lead vocals for the group’s best song, “Don’t Look Back In Anger.” Without his talent, Beady Eye lacks the swagger of what made Oasis so grand, which is why they struggle to sell out a club on this side of the Atlantic. Anyone who was expecting a performance of an Oasis-magnitude should look to the title of another Stone Roses song: “Fools Gold.”