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Noel G

Words by Matt Shimmin

On Wednesday 3rd August, Scarborough's Open Air Theatre played host to Yorkshire-adverse but ultimately supreme performer Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, to a crowd mostly made up of totally pissed-up blokes. It was pretty awesome.

Out of the two albums currently released the band's first (self-titled) album is probably their best-known, and it's lead track "Everybody's On The Run" was chosen to open the gig; a very good choice, as it turned out. The OAT’s packed out audience was treated to a strong opening instrumental, followed by the first line of “You can’t fight the feeling...” offering a sign of things to come; one which didn’t disappoint.

As the evening progressed and the sky darkened Noel’s crowd interaction intensified, as the audience warmed to the occasion on this balmy Scarborough seaside summer night. Some light (and some not so light) jeers from the man behind the mic regarding Yorkshire led to laughs and a rousing Yorkshire chant.

The musician was probably in a Mancunian minority of being allowed such liberties. Although, what else is to be expected from a man who graced us with such belligerence for over twenty years?

From here on in things improved further still, with the introduction of the gig's first Oasis track. It wasn’t subtle, nor need it have been. Whilst some of High Flying Birds' tracks may be lesser known to a lot of the crowd, there was no way in hell that “Champagne Supernova” wasn’t going to get 90% of people on their feet and belting out the Oasis classic at the top of their lungs.

And so followed the theme for the remainder of the band's set. There were some well worked and excellent tracks from High Flying Birds' own discography; “Death of You and Me” and “Heat of the Moment”, the first track performed in its full glory, brass and the lot. These songs were then interspersed with some of Oasis’s greatest hits.

The unescapable truth realised by watching Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds perform is a simple one: they’re a solid band with solid tracks and those tracks land well, but the memory of Oasis looms large and there is no escaping the clamour to hear those well-known classics.

However, what enables High Flying Birds to succeed musically is their ability to marry this fact with their own music, providing a pleasing set list for fans both old and new. The final three tracks of the evening demonstrated this perfectly: of course Oasis’s “Wonderwall”, had to be in there somewhere, followed by their own “What a Life!” and finished off with “Don’t Look Back In Anger”.

It should be remembered that those Oasis songs which are played in fact come from their B-Sides; songs that Liam Gallagher didn’t take the lead vocals for and Noel sang in the first place. To be honest, who cares? The better half of a band that drastically managed to cock up their later albums, before a less then acrimonious split, has actually survived. And not just survived - he’s flourished. On a warm Wednesday evening in Scarborough he “fucking nailed it!”, a guy in his 30’s with a fair bit of beer down his top was kind enough to shout in my ear. And I'm inclined to agree.

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Category: Reviews

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