Flashback Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Isle of Wight Festival 2019

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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds psychedelic performance stands out as a strong festival set that showcased an eclectic catalogue of brilliant tracks.

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Isle of Wight Festival is one of the best festivals we have to offer in the UK; it’s fun, bright and colourful, and boasts some of the best acts every festival season. Two years ago I got the chance to attend for the first time, seeing some brilliant acts such as Lily Allen, Gerry Cinnamon and DMA’s, but the one who stood out to me the most was the ultimate headliner – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

As an Oasis fanatic, I’m partial to a bit of Liam Gallagher, but it’s his brother Noel who’s music stands out to me as one which is made for the festival scene. From electronic beats, dramatic vocals and kaleidoscopic music videos; Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds know how to put on a show. This is exactly what I expected when I attended their Friday night headline slot in 2019, and it’s exactly what I got.

Blending both tracks from his older albums, such as the catchy ‘She Taught Me How To Fly’ Who Built the Moon? (2017), with newer tunes from his 80s-synth inspired Black Star Dancing (2019) EP, the setlist really included a wide variety of Noel’s repertoire. It wouldn’t be a Gallagher gig if there weren’t some Oasis songs, and let’s be honest at a festival most people would be watching it for his notability in the 90s Britpop days. Noel’s High Flying Birds are known for choosing the more melodic and underground Oasis tracks; so I was very excited when I managed to catch performances of lesser-known tracks such as ‘Little By Little’ and ‘Talk Tonight’.

The set kicked off with a bang as the band opened with the awesome instrumental track ‘Fort Knox’, which merged gracefully into the hit ‘Holy Mountain’. The backing singers and musicians supporting Noel on stage really stood out to me, as they created an aura in which the crowd felt drawn into the music and the light show. Other tracks that really hit the mark included slower, emotional tracks like ‘Everybody’s on the Run’ and ‘If I Had a Gun…’, and I think it’s safe to say these tracks were made for the stage. I’m not sure if I’d feel the same effect from them if I were to see them in a smaller concert venue, but I hope to find out at some point.

Noel’s voice echoed brilliantly across the audience as we were placed under a somewhat spell of smoke and projections which graced the sky above. It really was a beautiful set, ending the Friday of the festival with a positive atmosphere (before I had to run for the last but out of Newport). If you do get the chance to catch Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in the festival calendar in years to come then don’t miss your opportunity to see an immense display of psychedelia!

Check out the music video for ‘This is the Place’ below. 

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third-year film student & records/live exec 20/21

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