Live Report: Liam Gallagher – KOKO, London

A surprising cover, an emotional reunion and plenty of swagger...

Sometimes things can come in small packages and no more so than Liam Gallagher’s highly-anticipated gig at KOKO in London which commemorates the launch of Liam’s Knebworth 22 live album which comes out tomorrow.

This intimate gig to promote his new album celebrating Liam’s iconic back to back gigs at Knebworth last year, may have been small (in comparison to the huge crowds at Knebworth)  but the energy and performance certainly matched those iconic gigs, whilst providing the sold out crowd with the opportunity to see their hero up close and personal.

Only 1400 tickets were sold making this a highly exclusive gig that sold out completely in less than a minute. For those that attained a ticket, they were also treated to a fantastic set from support act Joel Stoker (frontman of The Rifles) who was hand-picked by Liam to perform his critically-acclaimed solo material. Joel was also joined on stage by his band mate, the ever-charming Dean ‘Deano’ Mumford on keys. Taking inspiration from soul, Americana and indie, Joel commanded the stage and performed tracks from his forthcoming debut solo album ‘The Undertow’ which included ‘My Own War’.

As per previous gigs, Liam came on in a blaze of glory to ‘Fuckin’ In The Bushes’, before delving straight into a raucous rendition of ‘Morning Glory’. The first surprise of the evening was the appearance of former Oasis guitarist and long term friend Bonehead

The 58-year-old musician, a founding member of the Britpop band, was diagnosed with tonsil cancer last year, but has since thankfully made a full recovery. 

The two friends were reunited on stage with Bonehead playing a number of songs including the aforementioned ‘Morning Glory’, performing together for the first time in almost two years having last played together during Liam’s headlining sets at Leeds and Reading festival. 

What’s really lovely about Liam and Bonehead is their enduring friendship with Liam encouraging the enraptured audience to ‘give a big round of applause for Bonehead!’. 

The former Oasis frontman was also joined on stage by his 22-year-old son Gene Gallagher on drums, who once again proved he was a safe pair of hands in the Liam Gallagher band, having also played at the Knebworth gigs last June.

Liam, as captivating as ever had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he did a (super) sonic stomp through some of his finest solo material which the rousing ‘Wall Of Glass’, ‘Better Days’, and emotive renditions of ‘More Power’ and ‘Once’. 

There were one or two deep cuts thrown in for good measure which included the rarely played ‘Paper Crown’ which left the crowd utterly transfixed.

Admiring the setting of the recently restored KOKO club with its ornate and resplendent decor, Liam showed his appreciation commenting that the music venue was ‘a mad little gaff!’ which seemed the perfect setting to showcase both his solo material as well as some much-loved Oasis classics.

From ‘Rock’n’Roll Star’ and ‘Roll It Over’, to a rousing ‘Stand By Me’ and a gargantuan rendition of ‘Slide Away’, Liam and his band raised the roof with their endless exuberant energy and plenty of rock ‘n’ roll passion. ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’, ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Roll With It’ took the crowd to stratospheric levels, whipping them into an euphoric frenzy.

There was yet another surprise as the show drew to a close with a high-octane reimagining of ‘Are You Experienced’ by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the titular track from Jimi’s 1967 debut album of the same name.

Without a doubt, Liam’s KOKO gig was an electrifying and unmissable experience, proving once again how incredible he is on stage.

Words: Emma Harrison 
Photo Credit:  Zekaria Al-Bostani 

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