Gig Review by Nic Jones with Gig Photos by Jay Broadhurst

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

I’ve said it before, I’m unlikely to stop saying it: Manchester loves its musical children. The reception they receive at homecoming gigs is unparalleled and Noel Gallagher never finds himself short of an audience or a deafening cheer. Gathered at Castlefield Bowl for the latest in the Summer In The City gigs is undoubtedly the largest crowd in the venue yet and the excitement in the air is palpable; people know Noel Gallagher doesn’t play Manchester very often, it’s pretty special when he does.

Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr

Supported by Johnny Marr, who does a fantastic job in warming up the crowd, Noel is in town for the latest gig in the Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds tour; one which has been to promote their highly successful second album. His solo career is riding high, running at full throttle, and as Noel walks onstage and launches into ‘(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach’ it’s clear that Manchester intends to celebrate that with him.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

I’ve been a fan of Noel Gallagher for a very long time now, I can’t deny that, and this latest gig sums up what I like most about him: his unrelenting passion for creating and playing music on his own terms. When he performs he stands in one spot on stage, looks at the crowd and sings and plays guitar. There are no theatrics, no playing up to the audience. He doesn’t need to do that. Despite spending many years watching his brother turn on the swagger and bait the crowd into euphoria, Noel knows his strong suit is his song writing talent and simply being himself, which is exactly what he does. He knows by now that you either love him and his music or you hate it, and he doesn’t need to try to change your mind. It’s this belief that’s making his career one of the most interesting and long lasting in British rock and indie history.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

As for the tracks on show tonight, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds play a strong assortment of material from their two albums and mix in a few Oasis classics for good measure. For fans of the latest work, it’s a treat to hear ‘In the Heat of the Moment’ live, which has to be one of the catchier numbers in Noel’s repertoire. There are jokes about him incorporating saxophones into his music, but ‘Riverman’ and its saxophone solo goes down extremely well with the crowd. ‘If I Had a Gun…’ from the first NGHFB album is a real highlight, filled with emotion and it captures the attention of the crowd completely.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Playing for an hour and a half, Gallagher wins the crowd over long before he gets to the encore. Finishing on ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, Gallagher looks out triumphantly as Castlefield Bowl takes over singing duties from him completely. This audience accepts we live in a post-Oasis world now, but that doesn’t make them any less joyful about hearing the old Oasis classics. ‘Champagne Supernova’, ‘Digsy’s Dinner’, ‘Whatever’ and ‘The Masterplan’ may play into people’s nostalgia for Britpop but Gallagher still makes them sound fresh; as if they could have been at the top of the charts yesterday. I can’t imagine a time when these songs won’t be special in this city.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

That said, the sentiment behind newer track ‘You Know We Can’t Go Back’ is right; going to a NGHFB gig is very different to an Oasis one. Times have moved on and in order to continue to be successful Noel Gallagher has had to as well. It’s a more mature sound, a more mature front man but it’s still a brilliant live show and a hell of a lot of fun.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Setlist: (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach / Everybody’s on the Run / Lock All the Doors / In the Heat of the Moment / Fade Away / Riverman / The Death of You and Me / You Know We Can’t Go Back / Champagne Supernova / The Dying of the Light / AKA…Broken Arrow / Dream On / Whatever / The Mexican / Digsy’s Dinner / If I Had a Gun…

Encore: The Masterplan / AKA…What a Life! / Don’t Look Back in Anger

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

One Response to “Summer In The City: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds + Johnny Marr at Castlefield Bowl, Manchester, UK – 11th July 2015”

  1. Gig Reviews | Gig Photography | Interviews | Competitions from Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Radio X Road Trip at The O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK – 2nd December 2015 Says:

    […] three times in Manchester this year, and we’re still not used to the raw energy of his homecoming gigs. Chris Moyles may be heavily booed as he walks on stage to introduce the main man, but all he needs […]

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