NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS, York Hall – Evening Standard, 2 Nov 2017

Long derided for his lack of adventure when it comes to new music, Noel Gallagher blew some minds with a new band member at London’s introduction to his third solo album: a backing singer who played the scissors.

At an intimate show filmed by Apple Music to be released on the same day as the album, she snipped her way through It’s a Beautiful World and She Taught Me How to Fly, new songs which gave the elder Oasis brother’s often formulaic sound a terrific short back and sides. The latter had an instantly loveable tune and was danceable – an adjective which is usually several arenas away from Gallagher material. Similarly, Be Careful What You Wish For introduced long-term fans to the term “groovy”.

It has been fantastically cheeky of Noel to begin releasing his finest solo material, ambitious fare made with soundtrack composer David Holmes, just as Liam Gallagher’s last throw of the dice has turned out double six. Liam’s solo debut has been successful enough to see him book a Finsbury Park gig next summer, but the celebration has been tarnished by relentless snipes at big brother. We can only imagine what the Blur vs Oasis battle would have been like if they’d had Twitter.

Social media absentee Noel has remained relatively dignified, aside from suggesting his brother see a psychiatrist and calling Liam’s fans “parka monkeys”. Better to communicate with killer songs such as Holy Mountain, which bizarrely combined Bryan Ferry and Ricky Martin with Beach Boys woos for his most euphoric moment in years.

There was plenty of Oasis material too. In fact, attend both brothers’ solo shows next year and you’ll get a pretty thorough Oasis run-through. That’s the best that nostalgic fans can hope for at a time when both men, remarkably, are flying very high.


April 27, SSE Arena, Wembley, HA9 (0844 815 0815,