“Liam, tell a joke!”
“Alright, I’ll tell a joke! Man United!”
In a matter of seconds, the small space of Rough Trade was completely filled to the brim for Liam Gallagher’s intimate performance on July 30th. Not including a secret show at the McKittrick Hotel the previous Friday, Liam Gallagher hadn’t performed in New York City since 2011 – so it was no surprise that the limited number of wristbands Rough Trade offered with a pre-order purchase of his debut album As You Were (October 6th) sold out instantly.
With a line forming at noon (yours truly was #5) and attendees traveling from states away (#3 in line had immediately hopped on the Megabus from Philadelphia to New York the moment this gig was announced), the line practically looped around the corner. When Liam Gallagher arrived at Rough Trade and stepped out of his van, he was gracious enough to sign a few Oasis albums and take some photos before rushing inside with a wave to the fans chanting his name.
Once inside, drinks were poured to celebrate Rkid’s New York reunion, and atop the balcony, two drunken bros swayed together, sing-shouting their favorite Oasis tune “Slide Away”: “Slideeeee in baby, together we’ll flyyyyyy.” My phone read “5:31 PM’ as flashing lights illuminated the stage. A banner that read ROCK N ROLL was draped on the keyboard stand, and the drum kit boldly read AS YOU WERE. Liam Gallagher squeezed between the drums and amps to come to the front of the stage, standing tall and proud as Oasis’s “Fuckin’ In the Bushes” boomed on the speakers.
Amazingly, Gallagher walked to the end of the stage to walk across the edge, and, keeping his arm outstretched, he shook the hands of everyone in the front row, saying a polite “Thank you.” Remarkable.
After shaking everyone’s hands and not missing a beat, Gallagher picked up his signature tambourine and started crooning “Rock N’ Roll Star” into the microphone with the crowd shouting every lyric back at him as Gallagher threw his very soul into the performance.
And by God, the lad’s still got it.
Since the breakup of Oasis in 2009, the “feud” between brothers Noel (primary songwriter/ guitarist and secondary singer of Oasis) and Liam has caused fans to take sides, some either calling Noel a shite singer or Liam a talentless has-been. This fallout from the band’s breakup affected Liam Gallagher deeply; several months ago, he told UK press that he worried the public viewed him as a burnt out has-been with no way of coming back. With his upcoming solo album this fall, Gallagher had set out to prove himself as a genuine frontman and a fucking badass rock ‘n’ roll star.
At the Brooklyn show, the crowd needed no reassurance as they chanted his name victoriously throughout the set – with the occasional “Fuck Noel!” thrown in at random times.
Leaning closely toward his mic, his hands clasped behind his back – a notable stance for Gallagher since ’92 – Gallagher sang “Morning Glory” with his guitarist Jay Mehler (formerly of Kasabian) shredding into the famous intro. In the third row, an eager group of young men (possibly from Manchester judging by their accents) hollered “Need a little a time to wake up!” so intensely that Gallagher himself gave a nod to their unrelenting passion. After the 90s nostalgia trip – a majority of the crowd ranged from young fans (the youngest fifteen years old to my knowledge) to a good chunk reminiscing seeing Oasis perform at the Wetlands Preserve Festival in 1994 when they were supporting their debut LP Definitely Maybe – Liam Gallagher and his band played “Wall of Glass,” his first single as a solo artist.
“Wall of Glass” isn’t weighed down by the Oasis nostalgia and serves as proof of Gallagher’s talent – the track can hold its own as a contemporary and entertaining rock song. Following next were “Greedy Soul” and “Bold,” two songs Gallagher seemed very passionate about as his energy never faltered but, in fact, increased. However, Gallagher slowed it down to perform the acoustic “Chinatown” off his new record, shaking his maracas gently as he sang along with the crowd. To our pleasure and excitement, Gallagher debuted another acoustic ballad off As You Were titled “Eh La,” and even though it was a new tune, the crowd still tried to sing along. Gallagher smiled and said a curt “Thank you” into the microphone, right before handing his tambourine to a lucky fan front center of the stage. The young fan followed the band’s beat as Gallagher sung “Be Here Now.” Politely asking for his tambourine back to finish the set, Gallagher performed “Wonderwall,” the song we all know and either love or hate.
Now, “Wonderwall” is the song many fans talk trash about. It’s arguably basic and overplayed and a disgrace to Oasis’ entire discography, but you cannot deny that it is a bop, and if you’re in the same room with Liam fuckin’ Gallagher singing “Wonderwall” right in front of you, you are going to wave your arms in unison with your phones lit up, or you are going to leave the room.
“I said maybeeeeee, you’re gonna be the one that saves meeeee,” crooned Liam Gallagher one last time before snatching his mic and giving it as a gift to the same lucky fan before exiting Rough Trade NYC to the echo of a sold-out crowd chanting his name.
Photos by Sofie Vasquez