Regrets, he’s had a few.
The Chief breaks out “(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine” at a German festival. Ace.
|—||A Quietus Interview | High Flying Birds, Musical Kettles And Exploded Psych: Noel Gallagher Speaks|
A few thoughts after seeing Noel Gallagher in Boston on Saturday night, done bullet style due to my incredibly busy day today:
- Great show, but even better crowd. A friend suggested grabbing a beer at a bar called The Tam, which was one block down from the venue. This turned out to be an amazing decision. I got there at 6 p.m. to see some other friends and by 7 p.m. it was full of Oasis fans putting songs on the jukebox and singing along. It was SO MUCH FUN. They kept it up at the actual gig. It felt like a soccer match. Lots of rowdy people having a good time. Only one person in my immediate area sat down the entire night. Best!
- The Wang Theater was magnificent. So ornate. Great acoustics. It was marvelous.
- Noel sounded brilliant, although I wish he would be a little more lively on stage. His voice sounded great and his band was also excellent. I was very impressed with his drummer, who was way up high in the mix. Better than any Oasis drummer not named Steve White or Zak Starkey.
- The set was the usual one and it worked fairly well. The new songs sounded great and it was a real treat to hear “Half The Word Away” and especially “Talk Tonight.” The only real mis-step in the set was “Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks” and “AKA..Broken Arrow” late in the set. Those are the two weakest songs on the HFB album and Noel shouldn’t play both of them. The energy in the hall lagged noticeably then, it was bathroom break time. Noel should drop Broken Arrow and play something like “Cast No Shadow” or “Stay Young.”
- WOULD IT FUCKING KILL HIM TO PLAY SOMETHING OFF OF BE HERE NOW?
- Oasis material seemed to either be mega-hits like “Wonderwall,” “Supersonic” and “Don’t Look Back In Anger” or choice b-sides like the aforementioned “Half The World Away,” “Talk Tonight” and “It’s Good To Be Free.” We also got the new b-side “The Good Rebel” which the Boston Globe described as an “organ-fueled ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ played to the beat of ‘Ticket to Ride.’” Truth!
- I appreciate Noel playing something off of Heathen Chemistry but I’ve never been a big fan of “Little By Little,” which opened the encore. I would have loved to see Noel go a bit more rock at the end and play “Waiting for the Rapture” and “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down.” But that’s just me.
- Lastly, after going to this gig I realized how truly burnt out I am with going to concerts. It’s probably been a good 6 to 8 months since I’ve left my camera at home, went to the bar to pre-game and then gone on to the gig to sing my brains out. It felt SO GOOD. I wanted to go around and hug everyone in the venue. I miss liking concerts. I only work at concerts these days. And that’s not me complaining, I love taking photos at the gig, it just seems like it’s taken a lot of the joy I otherwise get from concerts away from me. So this 24-hour road trip that I took strictly for pleasure really recharged my batteries, which was something I sorely needed. Thanks Boston, for showing me a great time.
- Saturday was the 19th time I have seen Liam and/or Noel perform.
- In the end, this was my big takeaway for the weekend:
Saturday! Boston, I’m coming!
|—||Noel Gallagher, Resurrection Man|
I finally secured a copy of the new Noel Gallagher album last night and gave it a listen during the 4th quarter of the Lions / Bears game. I then gave it a second listen during my commute this morning. My thoughts:
Track 1) Everybody’s On The Run - An amazing album opener. The choir and extraneous instrumentation are a preview of the album’s (somewhat overblown) production, but good lord, this vocal! One of the best Noel’s ever committed to tape. A corker. One of the best songs on the album. Here’s a soundcheck version that gives me chills.
Track 2) Dream On - An updated version of “(It’s Good) To Be Free” that honestly leaves a little to be desired. The horn section makes its first appearance. This song could have used a bit more work.
Track 3) If I Had A Gun - You’ve no doubt heard this song (and seen the video) if you’re at all interested in this album, so not sure I have anything new to say here. But I love this song and think it’s a great choice for the first US single. This is a great example of a great song that didn’t need much done to it during the recording process. Some of the other songs on this album were not so lucky.
Track 4) The Death of You And Me - The first track to be released off this album had many (including me) scratching their head after the first few listens. And while I don’t love this song, I think it works MUCH better in the framework of the album as a whole. It provides a nice change of pace in the tracklisting. Not one of my favorite songs on here by any means but I have to admit I had the hook in my head when I woke up this morning. Damn you, Noel!
Track 5) (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine - Oasis fans have been waiting for this one ever since the demo was leaked with some of the other songs from the Don’t Believe The Truth sessions. The finished version is pretty great and while I really like this song, I could do without the recording of the kids playing at the beginning and end of the song. Again, this seems like production for production’s sake. It doesn’t really add anything to the tune. It’s just there to make sure you know this is supposed to be a big ballad/album centerpiece. The drumming is a bit too Alan White for me as well. I do love the “Stop The Clocks” snippet at the end, which is a nod to the “Wonderwall” snippet in “Hello.” This song was originally meant to be 10 minutes long but it has been shortened to under five. Boo.
Track 6) AKA…What A Life - FUCK YES! This track is 100% perfect and the best track here. When I pictured this album in my head, this is what I wanted this entire album to sound like. A big 4/4 drumbeat with accompanying piano driving the tempo with Noel using all of his vocal range on top of it. This song is directly related to Dig Out Your Soul’s “Falling Down” (easily the best song on that album). I will probably listen to this song 100 times before the end of the year. Also, this acoustic version is pretty badass.
Track 7) Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks - Has a tempo very similar to “The Death Of You And Me,” only without the brass foundation. More choral arrangements for no reason. A bit of a clunker, honestly.
Track 8) AKA…Broken Arrow - A fine enough song, but not really noteworthy in any way.
Track 9) (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach - Nice tempo, unlike any other song on the album. Another track driven by the drumbeat. Has a big, soaring chorus that’s somewhat reminiscent of Dig Out Your Soul’s “Waiting For The Rapture.” Noel has always stuck a song on the last few Oasis albums that don’t sound like anything else on that record, and this is that song for High Flying Birds. Like.
Track 10) Stop The Clocks - A huge, huge disappointment. This is another demo that leaked from the Don’t Believe The Truth sessions that has been rumored to be on every Oasis release since then, but has never made it because the band couldn’t agree on a version they liked. After listening to this version, it seems like Noel and Dave Sardy couldn’t decide what direction to go in and just chucked every studio trick they could think of onto the track. This is a track that should have sounded like “Let There Be Love,” a plaintive beginning that builds over time. Instead, it’s full on kitchen sink from the beginning. The choral backing vocals are contrived and it just sounds like a muddy mess. The saxophone makes me want to jump out of a window. The 4 track demo I have is 10x better than this. Shame. A real missed opportunity.
Well, there you have it. I tend to be overly critical of everything Oasis related, especially when it comes to Noel’s songwriting, so while it may not sound like I enjoyed the album very much, that’s not true. I gave this a 7 out of 10 last night on Twitter and that feels right for this album. There’s a great album in here, it just gets lost in the production. I will say that i am VERY excited to hear some of these songs live next month in Boston, as I’m sure they will sound miles better when stripped down. Ultimately, I am just happy that my favorite songwriter on the planet is back in action.