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Rock 'n' Roll Star: Liam Gallagher's Commitment To Being Liam Gallagher

Thursday, 19 September 2019 Written by Huw Baines

There’s a line in the film version of High Fidelity, delivered by John Cusack’s sad sack music nerd/primo arsehole Rob Gordon about one of his many exes: “Some people never got over Vietnam or the night their band opened for Nirvana. I guess I never got over Charlie.”

A lot of people, particularly in the UK, never got over Oasis. Liam Gallagher is one of them. As we look back at 25 years of ‘Definitely Maybe’, the band’s debut and musical high water mark, their frontman is looking back too. He’s not shy of telling us that, if the call came, he’d get back together in a heartbeat, and sell out a bunch of stadiums by the time the next one was over.

But the chances of that happening any time soon feel vanishingly small. Liam and his brother Noel were rarely on good terms while the band were together—they’ve been publicly fighting it out since their earliest thrashings, as exemplified by Noel’s first exit following an on-stage row in '94 and Fierce Panda’s Wibbling Rivalry single —but these days things are really broken. 

For evidence, find Liam celebrating 25 years of ‘Definitely Maybe’ on Twitter: “Oasis the musical 5 lads from Manchester start a band and take on the world the little 1 who writes the songs turns into a massive cunt sacks everyone except his little brother as he ain’t got the arse splits up the band there’s a story line for ya THE END.” A little under a month earlier a Guardian interview with Noel alleged Liam had sent threatening texts to his daughter. It ran under the headline ‘I liked my mum until she gave birth to Liam’.

Liam’s solo career, which is gathering steam again prior to the September 20 release of ‘Why Me? Why Not.’ and his November arena tour, is interesting in a combative sense for its rejection of everything that his brother’s own post-Oasis work has embraced. To use a hackneyed Beatles framework, Liam is bashing out short, sharp pop songs with the help of some friends while Noel is getting further into tape loops and LSD in the studio nextdoor.

Liam’s enduring presence and popularity is inextricably tied to those early Oasis days that he pines for. Noel might have written the songs, but Liam was the rock ‘n’ roll star who magnetically brought them to life. In 2016, when he described his new work as “chin-out music”, everybody understood what he meant. ‘As You Were’ delivered on that promise, as Gallagher twisted melodies co-written by a cadre of industry heads into festival-ready shoutalongs.

There is something primal about Liam’s commitment to hard man posturing and macho self-confidence. He is as he always has been: Beatles, Pistols, Stone Roses, decent trainers, parka, strong jawline. “There’s so much change in the world, and especially in the music business, I think it’s nice to know you can rely on me,” he told the Guardian in 2018. “I like certain things to stay the fucking same.” 

So do a lot of people. Everything is changing around us—Britain in 2019 is not Britain in 1994, Spotify is not ‘Definitely Maybe’ breaking sales records for a debut—and Liam’s reaction is to make music that’s even more chin-out than his debut was. It’s like the punchiest arm around the shoulder in history. Even the recent single One of Us, a sedate, elegiac string-led ballad, has some bile and an Oasis nod to spare. “Won’t you tell the kid I said goodbye,” Liam sings. “You said we’d live forever.”

This no fucks given attitude chimes with people. Maybe it’s because we all have so much to care about in the real world—we don’t get to be Liam Gallagher, because if we tried we’d get sacked at 9:02 on Monday morning. His fans live vicariously through him, and as a performance style his intensity and brawny physicality are hugely influential—skip to the 30 second mark in the video for Billie Eilish’s monster hit Bad Guy for a taste.

Liam doesn’t see his music as the sole domain of 50-year-old men who perfected his loping stride on a sticky venue floor in 1995. His recent appearance at the Peaky Blinders festival in Birmingham appeared to underline this appeal with a sort of double-lad cosplay: gangsters and geezers.

Bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen, the Sherlocks and many others, meanwhile, are proof that unreconstructed indie songs with big hooks still regularly strike a chord with people who haven’t yet settled into middle management. None of these bands, though, can match the original for clear-eyed purpose and the sense that the unexpected might happen. 

Why Liam? Who else? He is one of the greatest recidivists in popular music, and an artist whose motivations have changed over the last 20 years almost as little as the tastes of his earliest devotees have. There is something celebratory about that. Night after night people continue to roll up to hear old songs that remind them of a different time and the man on stage, hands behind his back, is one of them. 

Liam Gallagher Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat September 21 2019 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Mon November 11 2019 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
Tue November 12 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Thu November 14 2019 - ABERDEEN P&J Live
Fri November 15 2019 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Sun November 17 2019 - NEWCASTLE Utilita Arena
Mon November 18 2019 - SHEFFIELD FlyDSA Arena
Wed November 20 2019 - MANCHESTER Arena
Thu November 21 2019 - LIVERPOOL M&S Bank Arena
Sat November 23 2019 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Sun November 24 2019 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Tue November 26 2019 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena
Thu November 28 2019 - LONDON O2
Fri November 29 2019 - LONDON O2

Click here to compare & buy Liam Gallagher Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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