But as the five-piece embarks upon a proper touring campaign in support of the album, it’s evident that the producer’s involvement has seen them voyage into previously uncharted stylistic territories.
The Ritz offers these musicians he opportunity to perform within rather intimate confines – which, for this writer, having previously only witnessed Liam Gallagher snarling his way through stadium-hosted shows, is intriguing indeed.
Trepidation precedes the performance: would Liam’s exceptional capability to produce either the magnificent or the bizarre, but rarely a level-footed showing, result in a set to remember for the right reasons? Which side of the frontman’s Jekyll-and-Hyde personality would rear its head?
Mercifully, Manchester is rewarded with a less-bullish, more jovial Liam, who saunters from the side-stage shadows to hold aloft an inflatable SpongeBob SquarePants doll.
Set opener ‘Flick Of The Finger’ and new LP track ‘Second Bite Of The Apple’ are received like back-catalogue classics. Sitek’s influence becomes apparent: swelling drums; thick, layered guitars; and slightly abrasive brass sections creep in and out of the mix.
Oasis favourites ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ – dedicated to Bonehead, who watches from a balcony – and ‘Morning Glory’ punctuate the set. Unsurprisingly, these are warmly received by the hometown crowd, with the resulting mosh pit and tossed pints comprising seals of approval.
The vicious power and tone of Gallagher’s voice is deafening in a venue of The Ritz’s size, and it remains one of the most inimitable voices in rock ‘n’ roll history. It exists somewhere between Lydon and Lennon.
Granted, these days Liam’s a little treble heavy and features a tinge of weathered gruffness; but he’s now more focused on channelling his primal aggression into an astounding vocal performance. It’s perhaps a level of professional maturity not usually synonymous with the younger Gallagher brother. Yet that’s precisely what’s delivered.
‘BE’ performed live sounds like a record filled with a tremendous amount of respect and enjoyment for the process of making music. Although it may not be a dramatic new direction, there seems to be an ever-developing group synergy, a more pragmatic approach to arrangements.
And, when manifested live, these are songs that simply blow you away, combining to represent gutsy, no-nonsense rock ‘n’ roll shows.
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Words: Daniel Rydings
Photos: Haydn Rydings
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