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    Liam Gallagher & John Squire supported by Jake Bugg 14.03.2024 The Halls, Wolverhampton, UK

    Photography by Indie Images Review by James Gardner

     

    Tonight we are off to Wolverhampton to see two of the most iconic and arguably biggest rock stars Britian has produced, Liam Gallagher and John Squire. Its grey, damp and miserable, the weather and in fact Wolverhampton, but that hasn’t stopped a queue of fans waiting patiently outside the venue. As we walk past the crowd we can play a quick game of Oasis fan bingo; Adidas samba’s- check, Pretty Green- check, Stone Island-check. During a quick a pre gig pint, we overhear disbelief of the fact there was no Oasis or Roses songs played last night in Glasgow, you my friend are sort of missing the point of tonight or maybeee you don’t really get it. Here to play and promote the recent album, written by Squire without a singer in mind until rehearsals for Liam Gallaghers biblical Knebworth shows, where Squire made a guest appearance. Tonight is not Liam and John do crowd favourites like an expensive karaoke experience, tonight is Liam Gallagher and John Squire.

    First up is Jake Bugg, it only feels like yesterday he was releasing his debut album which actually came out in 2012. His set tonight contains a good mix of his back catalogue as well as new song “I wrote the book” which is pure Jake Bugg, catchy, folksy and upbeat. It is however the older songs “Two Fingers”, “Troubled Town” and his breakthrough debut single “Lightning Bolt” that really hit home tonight with the crowd singing along in appreciation. Jake Bugg keeps it simple tonight, just him and a guitar, and with a voice like his, what more do you need?.

    The anticipation in the room intensifies, football chants that divided the crowd earlier have been replaced by mutual chanting for a uniting hero, LIAM!. The lights dim and on they come. Straight into first song “Just another Rainbow” the debut single from the pair.

    Tonight is not about Liam Gallagher, and we are treated to a humble and professional performance, one that see’s him still holding court, still full of swagger and attitude, yet calmer and measured. At points through tonight’s hour long set he is happy to stand back and share the limelight with others.

    Anyone who witnessed John Squire on The Jonathon Ross show would have seen a man uncomfortable and uneasy with his surroundings, on stage here in Wolverhampton he looks at home. This is where he belongs, him his guitar and an adoring audience. The bluesy aspects from songs such as “I’m a wheel and “Mother Natures Song” are brought up a few notches in the live delivery and Liams vocal has never sounded better.

    “Mars to Liverpool” gets the biggest reaction and sing along of the night. The joyous and fresh song with its nostalgic nods to the 60’s perhaps sums up what the collaboration is about, Beatles obsessives attempting to write the next Revolver. That is a big ask and whilst perhaps they may not have achieved that, they have however delivered a good album and a good show.  Often criticized for being a bit meat and two veg rock n roll, to the man moaning before hand about the setlist, I would say, you came to the carvery mate, what did you expect.

    Final song “Jumpin Jack Flash” is dedicated to Jack Grealish “cos you all love him” Is met by lighthearted boo’s and that’s it, the crowd disperse back into the night.

    On the Jonathon Ross show, fellow guest, comedian Rob Beckett made a poignant point about how growing up and seeing working class people like Liam and John become superstars, inspired so many people and gave belief that you could go out and achieve something regardless of background. With the recent cuts to the arts in the West Midlands, let’s hope that tonight these pair managed to do the same again. Because now more than ever grass roots arts and music needs some heroes.

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