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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds @ The Pabst Theater

April 3, 2012

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It's hard to believe, but 18 years have passed since Oasis led the Britpop revival.  The notoriously fickle U.K. music press makes a point to lionize and render obsolete artists on a weekly basis, yet for a run of eight albums the Noel- and Liam Gallagher-led band managed to become an institution, recording hit singles to headlining massive outdoor festivals. Their brotherly spats were tabloid fodder, but a 2009 pre-gig bout found primary songwriter Noel leaving the band to fly solo.

Tuesday at the Pabst Theater Gallagher and his High Flying Birds soared through a set that mixed Oasis hits with material from his new band's 2011 self-titled debut album. As a writer, Gallagher pens tunes that you swear you've heard before. The double-edged sword is that they're so familiar listeners may get caught up playing "name the influence," but that's easy to forgive when he offers so many melodic hooks and catchy choruses. Gallagher still carries himself like a rock star. During an encore of "Don't Look Back in Anger," he turned the song over to the audience for the chorus as he backed away from the mic.


Hinting at the flare-ups of attitude that fueled the Oasis legend, Gallagher chided one fan who kept shouting requests. "What if I were to come to your flat, which is highly likely," he said, 
"and told you what to play?" Aside from a few other asides, Gallagher led his four-piece group through a solid show that never strayed far from recorded versions. The packed house of die-hard fans was just fine with that. With a shifting light show that splayed across the Pabst Theater's chandelier, Gallagher masterfully shifted from pounding tempo rockers to acoustic numbers. 

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