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LIAM GALLAGHER @ Fremantle Arts Centre gets 9/10


Liam Gallagher @ Fremantle Arts Centre

w/ Alex Lahey, Planet
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

9/10

It got off to a rough start but for what it’s worth, Liam Gallagher bested brother Noel on Tuesday night. Noel may be the better songwriter, but once and for all, Liam proved himself to be the better entertainer.

Their recent concerts here couldn’t have differed more. While the older Noel has opted for legacy tours including a Crown Theatre headline and U2 support, Liam has played to the youth, with a fun Falls Fest show and these outdoor events at Freo Arts Centre for anyone who wanted to get up close and personal. With another near-sold out show to come on Wednesday (tonight), it’s Liam who delivered as close as we’ve come to seeing an Oasis concert since the Britpop titans split.

Opening duties went to Sydney outfit Planet, who proved themselves an obvious heir to DMAs in every way imaginable. Given what DMAs take from Oasis, they were a perfectly suitable first act, and while the accents in their between set banter differed wildly to frontman Matty Took’s accent while singing, their epic finale Northern Skyline was more notable for soaring, duel shoegaze guitars than copycat mid-90s Britpop.

Alex Lahey

Melbourne’s Alex Lahey looked like she was living the dream, and rocked despite flawed sound. Her dedication to crowd involvement was impressive throughout, but she missed a trick in getting an unfamiliar audience onside, her cover of My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade and her own Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder both noticeable absences. Every Day’s a Weekend, You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me and I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself were clear standouts. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself should have won the night as Lahey showed off her impressive skill set with a blazing sax solo; unfortunately, the microphone she played into failed her and it was more visually impressive than anything.

Liam Gallagher

You’d be forgiven for thinking Liam Gallagher was having the worst show of his life, early on. After an epic between sets build-up that included everything from The Who to The Stone Roses (and memorably Slade’s Cum On Feel the Noize, which Oasis covered on their Don’t Look Back in Anger single), an impressive stage set up was revealed. Next came a visual feast of strobe lighting for instrumental opener Fuckin’ in the Bushes. Before long the younger Gallagher sibling was tearing into Rock N’ Roll Star, but he was clearly unhappy.

Liam Gallagher

“(I) didn’t come all this way to play some naff PA shit,” he quipped early. “I’d ask for your money back,” he added two songs later ahead of Shockwave, as the crowd mockingly chanted, “Liam, Liam, Liam” back at him. It had all the makings of a Cat Power-like trainwreck – the kind you can’t keep your eyes off and perhaps secretly hope for with artists this volatile.

Liam Gallagher

But Liam had the next laugh, then the one after that, followed by a succession of last laughs. He was right, after all, the PA wasn’t tuned well, and the supports had suffered some particularly dross sound. We may have hardly heard his three backing vocalists all night – hell, his own voice wasn’t really impressive – but the crowd made up for those shortcomings, and then some. From the moment Morning Glory hit five tracks in, things never looked back.

Liam Gallagher

Columbia and especially Stand By Me were huge early singalongs, the latter a brave choice from 1997’s maligned album Be Here Now. Despite skipping solo career highlight For What It’s Worth, he made up with it with a barrage of Oasis hits. Noel take note: this is how you win a crowd over. Closing the main set with Wonderwall barely an hour in seemed premature, but he made up for it with two encores.

Liam Gallagher

This was where the magic really happened. Acquiesce was arguably the song of the night and definitely the most ambitious selection; the Oasis duet so often associated with brotherly bonding might’ve been ironic were it not for the fact Liam left Noel’s parts to be sung by the increasingly feral audience. It worked a treat. The crowd had been in good voice all night, between letting off flares and generally leaving inhibitions at the door (very unlike Noel’s Crown Theatre show). They drowned Liam out during Roll With It, Supersonic and Champagne Supernova. They demanded a second encore and Cigarettes and Alcohol was as perfect a closer as any Oasis fan could have hoped for.

Liam Gallagher

Perhaps mega-concert production is overrated these days. With a killer lights show, an electric fanbase in an intimate outdoor setting and nothing short of the essence of a rock n’ roll star in charge, Liam Gallagher unexpectedly produced one of the year’s great sets.

HARVEY RAE

Photos by Stu Mckay

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