The QT

Friday 14 June 2024

Review: Liam Gallagher & John Squire

Indie legends Liam Gallagher and John Squire shared the famous City Hall stage last night to perform their new chart-topping album, Liam Gallagher & John Squire. Michael Telfer was there to see just how mad for it they still are.
Indie icons Liam Gallagher and John Squire take to the O2 City Hall stage

It was said that Edith Piaf could sing the phone book and make it sound good. Last night at Newcastle’s O2 City Hall Liam Gallagher did his level best to do something similar.

The album Liam Gallagher & John Squire is not a great record. I’m not even sure it’s a good one.

Nobody in their right mind could suggest that any of the 10 tracks would make onto any of Oasis’ or The Stone Roses’ early albums, but I’d argue they wouldn’t even trouble Be Here Now or Heaven Chemistry.

That said, I took my seat in the balcony with a growing sense of anticipation. I was in the presence of icons after all, and the City Hall was jumping.

Liam Gallagher and John Squire at the O2 City Hall, Newcastle

The crowd was mainly a happy mix of teenagers and those of us that would have been teenagers when Gallagher and Squire were cutting their indie teeth. The dimming lights were met with feverish chants of “Liam, Liam” and the stage was perfectly set.

The performance kicked off with the best song from the album, Just Another Rainbow, and all was momentarily well in the land of yesteryear. With Liam’s ferocious vocals, John Squire’s guitar and the band’s pulsating wall of noise, the track sounded way better live than it had any right to.

One Day At A Time followed without any perceivable drop in tempo, volume or swagger and I was starting to think I’d been hasty in my judgement, that Liam Gallagher & John Squire might be one of those albums that grows on you until you wonder why you ever doubted it was anything less than a classic.

But then, little by little as Noel once sang, the evening trailed off. Possibly Liam’s heart wasn’t in it, possibly we all knew deep down we were in the indie remake of the emperor’s new clothes, but for whatever reason the wheels slowly came off.

The band leave the stage after a hot and sweaty 55 minutes

Whilst Gallagher’s vocals were never short of raucous, his overall performance started to feel dialled in. He barely interacted with the crowd and had even less to do with John Squire. It was as if the album had been recorded over Microsoft Teams and this was the first time they’d met in person.

By the time we got to the chorus of I’m So Bored about six songs in, any sporadic and isolated bouncing in the standing area had abated and it felt almost like a cry for help from the ex-Oasis front man.

The strange thing is that even at that point, if the band had played the opening bars to Live Forever or I Wanna Be Adored the famous Newcastle venue would have gone up like the bomb test in Oppenheimer.

They closed the set with Raise Your Hands and trooped off, stage right. The crowd’s calls for an encore had all the enthusiasm of Gene Wilder saying “Stop. Don’t. Come back” to Mike Teevee, but the band dutifully strode back on and played the Rolling Stones’ Jumping Jack Flash, and we dutifully clapped then headed home.


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