Liam and Noel Gallagher, the fitfully feuding brothers at the core of Oasis, have never been ones to camouflage their influences. The scruffy, working-class lads from an English industrial town set out to be their generation's Beatles, studding their lyrics with references to their ostensible forebears.
(If you've ever wondered what a "Wonderwall" might be, the name comes from a George Harrison album.) Their penchant for appropriation has landed them in court on more than one occasion, and even songs that aren't vulnerable to legal action stir up a sense of déjà vu. Is that "Cigarettes & Alcohol" or "Bang a Gong"? "Lyla" or "Dancing in the Streets"?
What distinguishes Oasis from any number of pastiche artists is the breadth of their sound: stacked guitars and earth-rattling drumbeats, topped by Liam's slurry rasp. Noel, the band's guitarist and primary songwriter, has taken plenty of flak for his lyrics, but the crowd at the Susquehanna Bank Center on Friday night bore out the wisdom of favoring sound over sense. Heaven only knows what "Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball" means, but it's great material for thousands of people to sing at the top of their lungs.
A good thing they did, too, since Liam made a practice of cutting short the elongated vowels that once turned "sunshine" into a three-syllable word. In a green army jacket and round sunglasses, he bobbed at the microphone like a hungry bird, snatching his head back between lines. Although he thanked the crowd for being "mega," he was almost diffident on stage, instead quelling the crowd's anticipation by introducing songs that quite literally needed no introduction.
The energy markedly went up when Liam stepped offstage and Noel took over vocal duties. The tension between the brothers was once the stuff of tabloid headlines, but these days matters have reached a comfortable equilibrium. Noel's voice is plainer but purer than his brother's and well suited to plaintive songs such as "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "The Masterplan." On "Falling Down" and "Waiting for the Rapture," both drawn from the band's seventh album,
Dig Out Your Soul
, Noel ventured into more aggressive vocal territory, encroaching ever so slightly on his younger brother's turf.