thu 20/06/2019

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Cardiff Castle review - wonder within castle walls | reviews, news & interviews

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Cardiff Castle review - wonder within castle walls

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Cardiff Castle review - wonder within castle walls

Former Oasis guitarist tops an excellent day of music

Noel Gallagher performing at Cardiff CastleOwen Richards

Blessed with a red sunset and an adoring crowd, Noel Gallagher brought life to the ruins of Cardiff Castle. With support from fellow 90s alumnus Gaz Coombes, and Wales’s next-gen prodigies Boy Azooga and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, the evening provided a winning mini-festival affair.

From first striding onto the stage, there was no denying that Gallagher is at home on stages this size. He possessed a knowing confidence as he broke into recent rock-pop single “Holy Mountain”, throwing cheeky shapes at opportune moments and always half a minute away from pointing a finger toward the crowd. It was a carefully curated set, with an early burst of successful solo singles that grabbed the masses from the start.

The amps and keyboards were adorned with psychedelic patterns and Man City flags, much needed visual accompaniments to a mostly static band. That said, his cabal of musicians produce an impeccable sound.Noel Gallagher at Cardiff CastleGallagher’s set plays as a surreal time machine: the further he reaches into his back catalogue, the more alive the crowd becomes. Latest single “Black Star Dancing” drew a muted response, but first solo album tracks were emphatically received, and each Oasis number was greeted like the second coming. But this is a testament to his songs – over 25 years of writing that most artists would beg for. It doesn’t matter that some were from a previous band, they are his and they carry weight with so many in attendance.

The support line-up raised the day to something special. Gaz Coombes still possesses one of the purest growls in music, a subtle gravel gracing those high notes. His solo incarnation is a commanding troubadour, the musicality of later Supergrass freed by the lack of expectation. Boy Azooga again showed why they are one of the country’s most visionary acts, and openers Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard resurrected glam rock with snake hips and lush riffs.

Gallagher’s final few were a satisfying retrospective. “Half the World Away” brought back memories of the Royale Family heyday, and the obligatory “Wonderwall” sounds so much less stale when sung by its originator. No-one begrudges The Rolling Stones for playing the best they’ve written, and this night showed why it’s unreasonable to hold Noel Gallagher in a different regard. There was a slew of singalong solo tracks, and plenty of reminders that his songwriting defined a decade. A finale of “All You Need Is Love” was almost two fingers to those that categorised Oasis as Beatles-light; the perfect send-off for an evening featuring one era’s great musicians and the next in-waiting.

@OwenRichards91

Gallagher’s set plays as a surreal time machine: the further he reaches into his back catalogue, the more alive the crowd becomes

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters