Last night’s co-headline blitz from Northern Ireland’s Snow Patrol and veteran Brit-pop ringleader, Noel Gallagher with his High Flying Birds, paired up for the kind of double-bill that rarely rolls into town.
The groups are massive across the pond, but venues the size of the gawd-awful sounding Corral are par for the course in this part of the world. The shame being that if Snow Patrol is your favourite band, well, you’re seeing them in a venue that simply does nothing but take away from the experience. The Jube, on the other hand, would have been perfect. But what do we know?
In any case, the stark contrast and bright spots for both Snow Patrol and NGHFB were still welcome respites from winter nights.
On a stage lit with colourful floating sharpie lights and a backdrop featuring a variety of animated images, singer and frontman Gary Lightbody led Snow Patrol through a balanced set highlighting last year’s Fallen Empires album.
Following an instrumental mix of Berlin, Lightbody showed his mettle through Chocolate from Final Straw (some would say the group’s finest hour), Take Back The City, Hands Open and Crack The Shutters.
It’s easy to complain of same-iness through the group’s, frankly, patented brand of swirling soundscapes, but, indeed, through six albums Snow Patrol have created a “sound” for themselves. Derivative, perhaps, but you know it’s them.
The group’s main set had yet to conclude at press time, but the group has been hauling out heavy hitters such as Dark Roman Wine, Chasing Cars, Open Your Eyes and Just Say Yes most nights of the current North American tour.
The return of Noel Gallagher was hotly anticipated by most of the 2,500 in attendance at the Corral — and why wouldn’t it be?
The luxury of hindsight was never required to fully understand that he was the heart, soul, brains and creative force behind Oasis.
Sure, he’s a crabby bastard (almost charmingly so) but he’s a ridiculously talented crabby bastard.
The loudest cheers of the night may have been reserved for a number of his former band’s reworked and stripped down covers, but material from last year’s self-titled debut shone equally as bright.
Opening with the Oasis nugget (It’s Good) To Be Free, Gallagher and his mates immediately segued into the NGHFB album opener Everybody’s On The Run to raucous applause and the anticipation of when he might speak …
“Good evening — hullo,” he began, before carrying on a conversation with one fan near the front of the stage.
“Do I know you? Yah, I know you! Do you live here now? No? Wot’s that? Where? Vagina? Haha, don’t we all?”
At least one overly chatty Saskatchewan fan notwithstanding, Gallagher seemed to be having a good time with the Calgary crowd through skin-tight interpretations of Dream On and If I Had A Gun. Later Gallagher gave his five-piece band a break, holding the spotlight himself through a gorgeously sparse acoustic version of the Oasis monster Supersonic.
Willing to give just enough to the old fans while raking in the new, he ended beautifully with Don’t Look Back In Anger.
Earlier, 18-year-old fellow Brit Jake Bugg opened the evening with a short, tight set for the sparsely gathered masses.
The influence of, er, Oasis can be heard immediately, but standing on stage armed with only a guitar and mic, the kid showed some serious chutzpah through tunes such as Two Fingers, Someone Told Me, Country Song and Note To Self.
Bugg’s self-titled major label debut came out last week and we should all be paying attention. The kid can play guitar like a mofo, sing … and he writes his own songs. Yes, Jake Bugg is the anti-Bieber.
Read the review at calgarysun.com.