Friday, June 24th, 2011
Different Gear, Still Speeding
Beady Eye at The Sound Academy in Toronto
Frank YangIf it were possible to discuss Beady Eye and their debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding based strictly on their musical merits and not their backstory, then it would be a fairly short conversation: alright-enough Brit-rock, hardly re-inventing the wheel. But taking into account that the band comprises 4/5 of the final lineup of Oasis, less chief songwriter Noel Gallagher, extra scrutiny is unavoidable. Which is unfortunate since despite the band’s – well, Liam Gallagher’s – insistence that they’re going to be the biggest band in the world, they don’t aspire to much more than solid, meat-and-potatoes rock’n’roll. And in that, especially considering the younger Gallagher’s rather unspectacular songwriting efforts in Oasis, Different Gear is surprisingly decent, with a good dose of swagger and energy and thankfully fewer than expected cringe-worthy lyrics. After all, Liam has never pretended there was a poet underneath the gruff exterior; Noel was the sensitive one.
While Beady Eye have hardly set the world ablaze with their debut, they found it worthwhile to bring it across the Atlantic for their first North American tour starting this past weekend in Chicago and landing in Toronto’s Sound Academy on Monday night. It would be the first time Liam would take a stage here since Oasis’ final assault-interrupted performance at V Fest 2008, and clearly the faithful had been waiting – the giant Union Jack flag waving from the balcony and random chants of “Liam!” a few of the signs that the band were on friendly turf. And really, it’s a rare sort of crowd who sings along en masse to The Jam’s “That’s Entertainment” over the PA, isn’t it? When the lights dimmed a few minutes later than the scheduled start time – it wouldn’t have done to not let the final bars of The Stone Roses’ “I Am The Resurrection” not ring out, after all – the cheers went up and out strode Liam Gallagher in appropriately ridiculous Union Jack topcoat and his more conservatively dressed compatriots and we were away.
Opening with “Four Letter Word”, Gallagher in his familiar nose-on-the-mic, arms-behind-his-back post and picking lyrics off a teleprompter, the first thing you noticed was that they were loud. More specifically, Gallagher was loud – heinously so. It was as if his monitor mix was being fed into the house by accident, so much louder were his vocals than the band that it was like hearing someone singing at the top of their lungs to music playing on their earphones. Thankfully within a few songs it was sorted somewhat – or fleeing to the back of the venue made the difference – and the remainder of the set was entertaining in a steady head-nodding sense. Each song from Different Gear as well as a couple of non-album tracks and one new composition was aired out, each with its own staging and adhering closely to their studio versions. And while it obviously wasn’t the context I’d ideally like to have seen, it was good to see Andy Bell back on guitar and taking a few solos in person.
Without that much material on hand and a sworn oath to not delve into the Oasis songbook, it wasn’t surprising that the main set was over in less than an hour, closing with “Champagne Supernova”-like psychedelic slow jam “The Morning Son” before returning for a two-song encore that brought the show to a respectable length. Throughout, Gallagher conducted himself with an interesting combination of confidence and humility, as though he still believed that he was fronting the best band in the world but understood that he had to prove it; this solid showing was a good start. Will Beady Eye, as their song declares, “stand the test of time like The Beatles and The Stones”? Not likely, to be honest, but at least they’ve bought themselves some of that time to get there.
Loads of new videos making their way across the pond over the last few days. Let’s sum up.
Amor de Dias has a new clip from Street Of The Love Of Days. Alasdair MacLean and Lupe Núñez-Fernández are also playing guest editor this week at Magnet starting with a Q&A and submitted a guest list of inspirations to Critical Mob.
The latest single from Anna Calvi also comes with a video.
Video: Anna Calvi – “Desire”
Video: Slow Club – “Two Cousins”
Friendly Fires have confirmed their Fall North American tour which includes the make-up for the cancelled Toronto show, now taking place October 23 at The Phoenix. The Georgia Straight and Black Book have interviews with the band and oh yeah, there’s a new video from Pala.
Video: Yuck – “Shook Down”
It’s not a proper promo clip, but people will still want to see this live video of Radiohead performing a new, non-album track. It’s taken from their upcoming From The Basement webcast, which I believe will be aired on July 1.
Some news from components of Blur; Clash checks in with Graham Coxon on the state of his next record while The Guardian has a feature on the many projects of Damon Albarn, including an opera about John Dee and a tease about possible North American Blur dates next year – hello Coachella?
Summer Camp have turned to Pledge Music to garner financing for their debut album, and have put together some very neat and entertaining rewards for various pledge levels. The real reward, of course, will be a record of wonderful pop music like the track “Nobody Knows You”, which they’re trading for your email address, but if you want to walk away with Jeremy Warmsley’s bass guitar, well that can happen too. Clash talks to Elizabeth Sankey about the new album and fundraising efforts.
Laura Marling has announced the September 13 release of her third album A Creature I Don’t Know. She talks to Spin a bit about what to expect and The Line Of Best Fit has more specifics. The record is already available to pre-order.
Bella Union has announced details on the debut album from Newcastle’s Lanterns On The Lake, who rather beguiled at SXSW. Gracious Tide, Take Me Home will be out on September 19 in the UK – the first MP3 from it is available to have and the hold now.