Liam Gallagher at Malahide Castle: a stale stroll down memory lane
The ‘King Parka Monkey’ sends them home happy but the new material is weak
Liam Gallagher: all parka and no knickers as the new tunes fall flat. Photograph: Getty Images
Gibney’s pub in Malahide is advertising an Oasis tribute band with a poster featuring half of Liam’s face, and half of his estranged brother Noel’s. Despite the Gallagher brothers’ various attempts since 2009 to build a post-Oasis legacy, this simple image says it all.
Even though Liam Gallagher is unexpectedly riding the crest of a wave as Noel’s career is somewhat stalling, he performs no less than eleven Oasis songs at Malahide. Even his stage entrance is soundtracked by Fuckin’ in the Bushes, the opening track of Standing on the Shoulder of Giants and the intro music for Oasis at Lansdowne Road back in the mists of 2000.
For Liam’s grand arrival, a camera follows him walking onstage throwing shapes like a simian Muhammad Ali. “Yes Dublin!” he bellows, as a delirious crowd go bananas. Lat year, Noel Gallagher slammed Liam’s fans as “parka monkeys”. The younger Gallagher revels in the supposed insult, and has taken to calling himself “King Parka Monkey”. He is wearing such an enormous over-sized parka that he looks like 90s rock star disguised as a tent.
The Oasis hits come thick and fast. Liam still plays some solo songs, such as an excruciatingly awful dirge called Paper Crown, which he dedicates to any “United fans in the house”. The Gallagher sneer is still present and incorrect. It was once memorably likened to sitting somewhere in between the two Johns – Lennon and Lydon, but no matter how he tries to dress it all up, the new songs are either pale imitations of former glories, or half-baked pub rock nonsense that would make the tribute band playing in Gibney’s sound as full-blooded and urgent as Led Zeppelin.
For all his faults, you don’t get to sell out the likes of Malahide Castle, or Slane and Knebworth back in the day, if you haven’t got something to bring to the table. Slide Away is a terrific moment, but Liam or his band tellingly don’t touch any of the vocal parts Noel sings on the original, and the elder Gallagher’s signature fret work on a song reputedly written on Johnny Marr’s guitar is also sorely lacking.
LIam also dusts off an old b-side from the same era, the six-minute slow rocker Listen Up, which is performed for the first time live since 1996. He dips back even further into the past with Whatever, an Oasis Christmas single from 1994, which prompts another hands in the air moment and cues mass delirium.
The entire encore set is practically identical to an Oasis one from the mid-nineties, with Supersonic, Some Might Say, Cigarettes & Alcohol, Live Forever and Wonderwall all providing a text book lesson on how to send them home happy.
Ultimately, Liam Gallagher’s Malahide soirée is neither a resounding triumph or a spectacular failure, but a stale stroll down memory lane for an singer so stuck in a 90s moment that he can’t get out of it.