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Concert Reviews:
Noel Gallagher's musical Masterplan's a winner in Royal Oak

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Sunday, May 31, 2015

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ROYAL OAK -- Noel Gallagher's potency as a solo artist should hardly be surprising.

While younger brother Noel was arguably the more prominent face in Oasis and certainly the loudest mouth, Noel was the brains of the operation and it's primary talent, as a songwriter, guitarist and even singer himself. There's a reason Liam's now defunct Beady Eye didn't make nearly the impact Noel's had with his High Flying Birds, which played a charged show Sunday night, May 31, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre.

Keep in mind that High Flying Birds is not actually a band but merely the name he's given his solo project. But that said, he has surrounded himself with strong players -- and on Sunday with three members of the Motor City Horns, who played on seven of the night's 20 selections. The result was a 95-minute show that displayed Gallagher as an even more confident frontman than he was the last time through (also at the Royal Oak) and clearly enjoying a larger body of solo work to draw from, from this year's "Chasing Yesterday" and 2011's "Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds."

And there was Oasis material -- a half-dozen tunes, ranging from the well-known ("Champagne Supernova," "Don't Look Back in Anger") to welcome deep cuts such as "Fade Away," "Whatever" and "Digsy's Diner." The horns, meanwhile, added a muscular majesty to "The Masterplan."

But Gallagher's own repertoire hardly paled in comparison. Playing beneath a large video screen that mixed live footage and prepared projects, High Flying Birds opened with an energetic "Do the Damage" and delivered an equal number of songs from each of Gallagher's albums, scoring particularly well with the psychedelic anthem "Everybody's On the Run," the thrashy "Lock All the Doors," the bouncy "The Death of You and Me," the rootsy "AKA...Broken Arrow" and a killer, horn-assisted rendition of "The Mexican."

Gallagher had little to say during the show, per usual. The charisma is in the songs themselves, and he's a good enough writer -- certainly one of rock's best during the past 25 years -- that the music said it all on Sunday.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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