Will Green didn’t go out for Halloween. Was he saving himself for something far better. A trip to London? A vital sports fixture? An important essay? A visit from family? Nope, he went to Wakefield to see a Scottish Oasis tribute band.
The tribute band scene is, well, a bit odd. It seems that it’s the place where extreme nerdiness and ‘cool’ rock music meet in a somewhat happy marriage. Tribute bands often mimic the original group exactly, copying their dress, mannerisms, playing style as well as their music. It’s an area of great competition too: each band tries to become the best in their chosen field.
The group I saw goes by the name ‘Definitely Oasis’, despite literally not being Oasis. A poor start as tribute bands go (inferior, for example, to the superbly named ‘Howaysis’ from Newcastle. Like, come on. I’d go to see them purely for the name).
The night began with a short performance from ‘Sonnet’, another Britpop tribute band, who proceeded to play a load of Stone Roses tunes, but it only really kicked off in earnest when ‘Definitely Oasis’ took the stage. I didn’t anticipate the atmosphere at a tribute gig to have quite so much going for it but, credit where credit’s due, the large open bar with cheap pints probably did its bit too.
The slightly bizarre element of the evening came with the band members themselves, each playing a part. The lad playing Liam Gallagher looked, dressed and sang like Liam Gallagher. The lad playing Noel Gallagher looked, dressed and sang like Noel Gallagher. Here, though, things became a little stranger. The bassist looked like Ian Brown from the Stone Roses, and the guitarist looked like Will off of the Inbetweeners. The drummer had faint echoes of Winston Churchill, who, if I remember correctly, wasn’t exactly an integral part of the 1990s rock music scene.
The band performed a full playthrough of Oasis’ debut album, Definitely Maybe, each performance faithful to the original track. Between songs, ‘Liam’ and ‘Noel’ chatted to the crowd – a crowd made up largely of men in their forties and fifties, but with a range of others (including one old lady in a wheelchair. Respect!). It was a pretty small venue, but it was also pretty full, and the noise when Live Forever came on was deafening; thought I suppose having three guitars and a full drum kit also adds to the sound value.
After a brief intermission, the band returned to the stage to perform a range of post-1994 Oasis tunes. By now, the glasses were emptier and the singing was louder; there was a fair bit of arm-linking. A short semi-acoustic set from ‘Noel’ provided a contrast to ‘Liam’s’ aggressive stance, before the lead singer returned to perform a few classics. Even a brief fight (ironically taking place just before a rendition of Don’t Look Back In Anger) couldn’t dispel the happy mood. The final song, Acquiesce, summed up the night:
‘Because we need each other // We believe in one another’
If only the real Gallaghers had listened to this instead of hitting each other with chairs and fruit. Still, if you get the chance, go along to a Definitely Oasis gig and you won’t regret it (unless, of course, you’re not an Oasis fan – but in which case, to quote Noel again, ‘why are you really here?’).