Wednesday 20 April 2016

On Stage: Noel Gallaghers's High Flying Birds @ HMH

Ever since Oasis quit, Noel Gallagher was the one brother who managed to start a successful solo career. Although he never was able to match it up with Oasis, and how could he, he proves to be a good songwriter on his own and I like his sound. Due to some bad luck I was not able to see him at the Best Kept Secret festival last year but fortunately he paid a visit to the Heineken Music Hall.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at Heineken Music Hall, April 18 2016

We come in early to catch Augustines play the warm up show and see them working up a sweat to make everyone comfortable with their mix of Arcade Fire and Kings of Leon rock songs. It's pretty good what they play and they sound quite impressive come to think there's only three people on stage. The trio looks like they are enjoying it a lot and get a well deserved applause at the end.

Noel Gallagher may not get raving reviews about his music, since obviously it keeps getting weighed up against the Oasis catalogue that has so many monumental songs. But I think his solo records sound great, with a bit more pop and the use of a broader sound. A nice example is 'Everybody's On The Run' that opens the show, which may not get everyone mad right away but sets the right mood nevertheless.

Gallagher himself looks like he's in a good mood although his face doesn't always reveal this, but he's sometimes chatting with the people at the front, cracking a few jokes. More importantly he and his High Flying Birds are in great shape. The band sounds tight and his songs sound sparkling, also because of the horns section at the back. Big visuals are like a mood light for the music and are well chosen.

Many Oasis songs are scattered throughout the set which of course are great crowd pleasers, but Gallagher has never ignored his past in that big rock band. 'Champagne Supernova' is the first time tonight the crowd goes crazy. Judging from the English I can hear around me many British fans made it across the canal and create an exciting atmosphere. Halfway the set Gallagher says he will play some songs from the nineties and interestingly plays 'Sad Song' and 'D'Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman?' back to back, not exactly big Oasis poppers. But it suits his own musical style, that is less about the big gestures.

This last part of the set is really heavy on Oasis tunes and we can hear only a few of his solo songs. It doesn't really matter what he's playing now, since the fans had plenty of beers and by now the venue has turned into a big pub full of happy drinking people. In the encore, 'Wonderwall' gets a more mellow arrangement and of course we go out on a high in the best possible way with 'Don't Look Back in Anger' where the whole venue explodes into a massive "And so Sally can wait". It may not be Oasis, but we get the best of both this way.

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01. Everybody's on the Run
02. Lock All the Doors
03. In the Heat of the Moment
04. Riverman
05. Talk Tonight
06. The Death of You and Me
07. You Know We Can't Go Back
08. Champagne Supernova
09. Ballad of the Mighty I
10. Sad Song
11. D'Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman?
12. The Mexican
13. Half the World Away
14. Listen Up
15. If I Had a Gun...
16. Digsy's Dinner
17. The Masterplan
18. (I Wanna Live in a Dream in My) Record Machine
19. Wonderwall(Oasis cover)
20. AKA... What a Life!
21. Don't Look Back in Anger

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