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Live review: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Exorcising Oasis.

Those yearning for an Oasis reunion are wishing their lives away, sleepwalking through a golden age.

Liam’s voice is shot and Beady Eye conclusively proved the songwriting failings of The Other Ones. Meanwhile, with his Birds, Noel Gallagher is currently in fine voice, on his best creative form for 15 years and even throwing sophisticated takes on his previous band’s songs into the set “for the mums and dads”.

The audience at this 500-capacity warm-up gig are treated to acoustic flounces through Whatever b-side (It’s Good) To Be Free, Fade Away, Digsy’s Dinner and Don’t Look Back In Anger, but these are mere sops of familiarity between meatier courses. “Do not be alarmed,” Noel quips, “there is a saxophone coming onstage”, and sure enough NGHFB embrace the trappings of gnarled Americana with a Britpopper’s panache. If the night’s prime cuts from 2011’s debut update the New Orleans funeral parade (The Death Of You And Me), glam rock (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach) and crime scene noir (Everybody’s On The Run, AKA… What A Life!), the tracks premiered from second album Chasing Yesterday delve into rootsier territory, with Riverman invigorating swampland blues and the likes of In The Heat Of The Moment meshing stadium rock squeals with Madchester acid swirls. Noel’s building a far less tired and surly storm than the 21st-century Oasis ever did.

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle (opens in new tab).