Beady Eye at The Olympia Theatre, 7th of October 2013
Beady Eye launched their European tour in support of their sophomore album ‘BE’ with a two-night stint in The Olympia Theatre giving a performance as simplistic as their latest album’s title. There are no gimmicks, the former Oasis men simply turn up, play, say “thanks” and leave.
As White Smoke morphs into Flick Of The Finger Liam Gallagher bounces like a boxer about to enter the ring for a title fight dressed as ever in his parka jacket armour. The assembled crowd prove that they are still mad for it before Gallagher gets a chance to, eagerly doubling up on the opening salvo of brass parts. The booming voice of Kayvan Novak (better known as Fonejacker) fills The Olympia Theatre with a monologue of impending doom. Gallagher’s voice is notably grittier and more impassioned than the album version of the track, a trait which continues throughout the performance.
There is something of a marked if not celebrated movement away from Beatles mimicry towards a Rolling Stones-style riff-based rock present throughout the new material such as Face The Crowd with lead guitarist Andy Bell emphasizing the dark droning psychedelic undercurrents of songs such as Soul Love onstage. The former Ride guitarist famed for his effects-laden early ‘90s shoegaze offerings has really stamped his sonic authority upon Beady Eye acting as ringmaster in the way Noel Gallagher once did for Oasis. However, Beady Eye seem much more like a unit onstage than Oasis ever did.
Four Letter Word has a McCartney-does-Bond vibe thanks to the heightened presence of synth parts, while there’s hints of Beck and Björk throughout the percussion and bassline of Second Bite Of The Apple. Shine A Light echoes The Byrds and flowerpower Americana and while you could argue that such a progression is simply following the blueprint of The Beatles it does at least indicate that Beady Eye are attempting to introduce more variety to their material than may have been attempted by Oasis.
However Beady Eye don’t shy away from their past, delivering renditions of two Oasis songs, firstly Live Forever which is given an acoustic makeover with welcome results, and then a swaggering beefed up version of Cigarettes and Alcohol which left the crowd pondering what Oasis could have been if they originally possessed a bassist of the calibre of Jay Mehler. It’s not all good news though; I’m Just Saying and Soon Come Tomorrow are completely staid by comparison with the latter bringing about the first real lull in the atmosphere
The Roller creates a sing-along vibe in the venue with Gallagher delivering his classic snarling vocals as a roulette wheel spins on the backdrop. Start Anew succeeds in drawing the audience in where some of the other slower-paced material failed thanks once again to Andy Bell’s accomplished guitar work which moved from swelling post-rock crescendo to psychedelic solo and back again. An extended version of the Let’s Spend The Night Together-tinged Bring The Light was another highlight from the band’s first album. The repeated chorus of “I’m coming up” hangs in the air for what seems like an eternity as Beady Eye close the first section of the show with Wigwam, a song which gives drummer Chris Sharrock a Phil Collins-esque moment in the sun via a repeated drum fill. Beady Eye returned for an impressive single-song encore of The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter; a wholly unexpected pleasure with Liam Gallagher and co dispatching the song with just the right amount of spite, precision and bombast.
While Beady Eye may be regarded as the dregs of Britpop they are by no means the worst band of their kind to visit Dublin in recent times. Liam Gallagher can still play the charismatic loveable rogue like no other frontman and is more than capable of delivering a captivating vocal performance when it suits him and with two experienced guitarists in the form of Andy Bell and Gem beside him the standard of musical performance onstage is assured regardless of the standard of the material on display. There’s no denying that the highlights were Gimme Shelter and Cigarettes and Alcohol but, Beady Eye are slowly building themselves a credible set of material.
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Photos: Shaun Neary