- 17 Jun 19
Good? "Supersonic, mate!" says our man down the front, Stephen Porzio.
“I lost my soul in the summertime/‘cause it don’t stop raining,” sings Noel Gallagher on ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’. Yet showers couldn’t dampen the spirits of the packed Malahide crowd, gathered to see the songbird in all of his glory.
Fans were treated to four support acts. First was young Dublin four-piece Inhaler, who on songs like 'My Honest Face' pack a potent New Order-ish synth sound. There are also traces of Boy-era U2, which is not surprising given that their frontman Elijah Hewson is Bono's son and has a similar vocal range. Bono was side of stage to watch them and will have been impressed by just how tight a unit they've become after running round Ireland recently with like-minded Derry souls Touts. The sizeable young following they've brought with them to Malahide suggests big things await.
Then came Aussie rockers DMA's. Their tuneful guitar-driven melodies, which are very Oasis in parts, set the stage nicely for Gallagher later. Manchester pop band Blossoms followed with such catchy electronica-tinged indie bangers as 'There's A Reason (Why I Never Returned Your Calls)' and their anthem of anthems, 'Charlemagne'. All eyes were on singer Tom Ogden who out-Iggys Mr. Pop with his mic lassoing and manages to pull off a high trousered/cropped jacket look redolent of the Bay City Rollers - Google Image pics of Les McKeown from the '70s and and you'll see what we mean!
Last was other high-flying bird group Doves. Recently reformed, the Cheshire trio's ecstatically received (despite the downpour) set includes 2004’s ‘Black And White Town’ and monster 2002 breakthrough hit, 'There Goes The Fear Again', which finds singer Jimi Goodwin bashing a mean bongo.
The true star, though, was Gallagher. The Manchester man looked terrific strutting onto the stage in a slick black leather jacket to intro ‘Fort Knox’ – the largely instrumental psychedelic rock track that opens 2017 LP Who Built the Moon?. A hype builder if there ever was one, next came that record’s single – joyful propulsive stadium anthem ‘Holy Mountain’. "She fell/right under my spell". Fans did the same.
The new Liam Gallagher doc As It Was makes the case for its central figure being rock’s last great frontman. Whereas his brother doesn’t have the same cocky bravado on stage, he sings with palpable passion and intensity. It helps too that he’s a better songwriter and lyricist – delivering a night of great tunes, evenly split between his High Flying Birds output and Oasis days.
Backed by a brass band and powerful supporting vocals from French singer YSEE, ‘Keep on Reaching’ and recent disco-influenced single ‘Black Star Dancing’ sounded groovy and punchy. Meanwhile, renditions of Oasis tracks ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’ and ‘Little By Little’ would be enough to silence those believing he and his brother produced nothing worthwhile after their first two records.
The evening culminated in a legendary encore featuring ‘Stop Crying Your Heart’, ‘Half The World Away’, ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ and an ‘All You Need Is Love’ cover, leaving even the macho in the crowd misty-eyed. Yet, the concert highlight came mid-way through as Gallagher sang Oasis non-album single ‘Whatever’ as the sun went down, delivering its climactic euphoric lyrics "Whatever you do / Whatever you say / I know it's alright" against a stunning golden sky. Good? Supersonic, mate.