There are some things that just work unquestionably well together – fish and chips, Morecambe and Wise, Marmite on toast and that other quintessential British duo the Gallagher Brothers.
When Oasis split three years ago nobody knew what to expect, little brother Liam had clearly got his eye on being the bigger, better success and letting everybody know about it, and yet Noel quietly confident since the split seems to be creeping out of his younger, louder brothers shadow. With his band Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds forming in the wake of Liam’s band, Beady Eye, it’s now Noel’s turn to let the songs do the talking.
Settling into our seats amongst a sea of Gallagher style sideburns, mums, dads and teenagers the crowd were a mixed bag to say the least. Graham Coxon opened for Noel, yes he of the famous Blur, the band that were famously at loggerheads with Oasis for the majority of the mid-90s. Graham standing awkwardly played a great opening set of spiky, energetic songs.
It would be fair to say that the hatchet is now well and truly buried and all is forgiven as Graham dedicated the song You and I to Mr Gallagher.
Then along came Noel after being in one of the biggest bands in the world, the man had more than a little to prove, yet he commanded the stage like the seasoned pro that he is.
Old songs and new songs worked seamlessly alongside one another throughout the carefully chosen set list. Beginning with Whatever B-side, (It's Good) To Be Free, Noel’s voice was surprisingly as strong and clear as on any of his recorded material.
From there he dived into the opening three songs of his solo album. Confident throughout and amusingly charming in only a way a Gallagher brother can be, at one point heckling a ‘a f****** fat skinhead’ in the crowd, the Crouch End ladies choir who joined him for backing vocals on stage may have blushed a little at such profanities but ever the gentleman, Noel did apologise to them after each curse.
The atmosphere was indescribable, as Noel led the crowd through singsongs of classics such as Don’t Look Back in Anger, and an acoustic Supersonic. Stand out songs and a personal favourite was the Oasis ballad Talk Tonight, whilst I was also pleasantly surprised to hear D’yer Wanna Be A Spaceman? which is rarely heard live. The newer solo stuff was unmistakably ‘Solo Noel’ with If I had a Gun and AKA…What A Life sounding fresh and original alongside the Oasis nostalgia.
This years NME Awards saw Noel Gallagher being declared a ‘Godlike Genius’, after this gig I surprisingly find myself agreeing with NME. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds showed great musicianship, and proclaimed Noel as a talented solo artist, and songwriter with equally impressive vocals. I don’t think anybody can write-off this Gallagher Brother quite yet, and with undoubtedly more to come, little brother Liam certainly has a hard act to follow.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds played at Nottingham Arena on Monday 10 September 2012.