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Kasabian & Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Marlay Park, Dublin
Craig Fitzpatrick, 12 Sep 2012
Musing on the state of rock a few years ago, a contemplative Noel Gallagher claimed that, if Kasabian did their job properly, we wouldn’t need his own band in a few years’ time. Fast forward to the here and now, and Oasis have been and gone. Noel’s still flying high and solo, of course, but Marlay Park finds him and his Birds merely supporting the former heirs apparent.
Before the young things play though, the old dog of Britpop has his chance to prove his vitality. Not that he needs to woo a Dublin crowd – this is his third Irish date in less than a year. If the novelty of Noel sans Liam is wearing slightly thin, the crowd don’t seem to think so, greeting his announcement that this will be his last visit for quite a while with a chorus of boos.
Though the sheen of the new material has become familiar, this is offset by the mastery he now has over his solo set. Technical difficulties that prompt an early exit and re-start aside, this is a textbook example of how to do the big gigs correctly. Much of the new material has risen in stature – ‘Everybody’s On The Run’ brushes off the early problems, ‘If I Had A Gun’ prompts the first singalong and ‘AKA’ is greeted with rapturous roars. Of the High Flying Birds numbers, only ‘Dream Machine’ seems a little wishy-washy, plodding along uneventfully. The rest proves his songwriting chops are still very much intact, as is his surrealist humour and faux curmudgeon act, with the Manc goading the front row good-naturedly. Of the classics, ‘Supersonic’ is reinvented acoustically, ‘Whatever’ benefits from a lack of Liam and the closing ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ is such a powerful moment that you fear for the following act.
Not that we need too – at this stage Kasabian are a formidable live beast. Their Oasis iinfluences are still in evidence, but in reality they’re a far more inventive proposition, unafraid to mix electronica with trumpets and gnarled guitar solos. Primal Scream come to mind.