Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Live Review: Beady Eye
Sound Academy, Toronto
June 20, 2011

If the story isn’t old enough already, Beady Eye is Oasis, minus leader and chief songwriter, Noel Gallagher, and it’s been almost three years since the Beady Eye members were last seen around these parts. To be exact, it was September 7, 2008 at the Virgin Festival in Toronto when a crazed fan somehow snuck backstage and interrupted Oasis’ set by blindsiding Noel Gallagher mid-song turning him into a human bowling pin right on stage.

Fast forward to Monday night and four fifths of that Oasis line-up were back in Toronto this time as Beady Eye to make one of only four North American stops to promote their debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding.

Compared to other markets, Toronto has always been a huge Oasis supporter since the band’s inception, therefore, for Hog town to be included as part of the Beady Eye’s North American mini-tour certainly had to have been a no-brainer.

Even if Beady Eye is basically a sans-Noel Gallagher Oasis, it was a real treat to be able to see the group perform in just a 2,600 capacity club, even if it was the cavernous and inconvenient-to-get-to Sound Academy generally known for its narrow sightlines and poor sound, opposed to the massive and unfriendly stadiums Oasis were stature for.

Amongst a sea of Oasis t-shirts, the mostly 30+ crowd packed the club with more curiosity than anything to get a first time look at Liam Gallagher strutting his stuff without big brother in tow. Decked out in a dapper thigh length Union Jack coat and sporting a massive shaggy mop-top of hair, he was his usual charismatic self, sneering centre stage in his trademark hands-behind-the-back singing crouch, rounded out by guitarist Gem Archer, guitarist Andy Bell, drummer Chris Sharrock, plus touring bassist Jeff Wootton and keyboardist Matt Jones.

Near the end of their career, Oasis were renown for their motionless and statuesque type performances often looking like a disgruntled lot just punching a clock for another day at the office, but this clearly wasn’t the case for Beady Eye. Maybe a brand new start and scaling back to club scene again is all that was needed for igniting energy and getting the band moving. Dare I say it, Liam Gallagher and co. were actually having fun. I guess that’s what happens when you eventually become your own boss.

The electric vibe inside the Sound Academy and smiles all around when the house lights went up at nights end was proof enough a great night was had by all. Not a bad feat at all considering not a single Oasis lick was heard in a room packed full of Oasis faithful. Highlights included single “The Roller”, the raucous ode to heroes, “Beatles and Stones”, the charging bass driven “Man of Misery”, and the atmospheric “Wigwam”. The only thing that might have made the evening all the more better was if in-house screens could have actually displayed subtitles for every time Gallagher spoke in his thick Mancherterian accent.

The tunes were great so Liam gets a free pass.

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