Noel Gallagher, Garbage, and Metric live in Indy: photo gallery & review
By Andy & Annie Skinner
Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds descended on Ruoff Music Center Thursday, June 29th just after powerful summer storms pummeled Central Indiana - thankfully not disrupting the concert and the former Oasis songwriter's ability to entertain the mostly-full pavilion at the Noblesville venue.
In tow were the openers Metric, the alt-rock danceable indie-pop band from Toronto, as well as the Shirley Manson-fronted alt-grunge band Garbage, set to properly warm up the damp crowd after a wild day of dangerous weather that drove away the sickeningly thick air filled with smoke and particulates from the unfortunate Canadian wildfires covering much of the Midwest until that afternoon (canceling an earlier stop on this tour).
Metric took the stage at about 6:50pm, a bit earlier than their stated set time but giving them more room to play nine hit songs from across their eight studio albums such as Gold Guns Girls, Help I'm Alive, All Comes Crashing, Gimme Sympathy, and more, singing along with a small but dedicated crowd of fans. Singer Emily Haines' sparkly sequined black outfit was a definitive rock star drip, and a contrast to lead guitarist James Shaw's urban cowboy chic. After about 40 minutes the band thanked the crowd for their attention, notably humbly thanking Garbage and Noel Gallagher for taking them on the road.
Garbage took the stage about 25 minutes later to a rousing ovation from the lower pavilion. The self-proclaimed "Red Witch," singer Shirley Manson was wearing a stunning outfit of a flowing white sleeveless Diana Paukstyte dress with a sheer red fabric scarf-cape and colorful leggings, styled by designer Candice Lambert McAndrews. Her hair was pulled back and her makeup was reminiscent of how Siouxsie Sioux drags eyeliner across her temples in a Cleopatra-style peak. Although backed by a legendary band of longtime friends, there was no doubt Manson was the center of attention, both through her appearance and her stage presence.
Garbage flawlessly drove through hit after hit, seemingly enjoying the chance to perform a greatest-hits setlist of sorts as they were first support for a global superstar and the gig wasn't a headlining run in support of a new album. Fans got to enjoy and sing along to very tight renditions of 15 songs, including #1 Crush, Push It, Stupid Girl, Only Happy When It Rains, Beloved Freak, Supervixen, and (to our delight) a cover of Cities In Dust, originally by Siouxsie & The Banshees.
After mentioning that the venue was "becoming a second home" to them, as Garbage have performed at Ruoff Music Centre three summers in a row, she repaid the crowd for being "a very noble Noblesville" by going out into the audience multiple times with her wireless microphone to sing songs in and with the excited crowd in the lower pavilion. Manson also took time to stop and speak to the crowd from the stage on a personal level about her feelings regarding the trans and LGTBQ+ community, urging everyone to "take pause and think about the trans community" and remember "they are human beings."
At about 9:40pm, Noel Gallagher and his band High Flying Birds stepped on to a very highly decorated stage full of potted plants, flowers, decorations, and warm earthy lighting - an almost Brazilian Carnival setting, but also featuring a Manchester City football club banner and cardboard cutout of their coach Pep Guardiola wearing a team scarf - a nod to Gallagher's favorite English soccer team and their big year of winning the Premier League and Champions League titles.
The digital screen behind the band regularly animated scenes of bird migration set against industrial cityscapes, it was the warm tones of the colors and lights that gave the performance more of a living room feel than in the mega-sized venue we actually witnessed the concert.
While the size of the band and the talent they brought was impressive (three backing singers, and five instrumentalists alongside Gallagher), the overall punch was lacking - at least compared to the raw, real performance of Garbage. The songs felt very sugarcoated and the optimism disingenuous - giving a feeling of being on a rock'n roll episode of Sesame Street: is this real? Is the happiness sincere? Songs like Pretty Boy, Council Skies, and We're Gonna Get There In The End were beautifully played and note perfect; however, there was definitely something lacking in the energy. Was it a mid-week show in a secondary market to a not-very-full pavilion within a much larger venue? Or is there something slightly watered down about Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds? In any case, a it was definitely a beautifully played set on a beautifully decorated stage, whether or not the show lacked punch.
After seven High Flying Birds originals and a lot of banter from the stage, Gallagher announced "the new stuff is out of the way," and joking with a 12-year-old at the show from Texas wearing a Man City jersey that he was "going to play songs from the 90's ...when everything was cool ...before the Internet ruined the world" the band played seven more songs, six from Oasis and a Bob Dylan cover for good measure.
The first Oasis track, to the delight of all the other soccer jersey-clad people in the crowd, was The Masterplan, followed by Oasis hits Going Nowhere, Little By Little, Half The World Away, Live Forever, and Don't Look Back In Anger - broken up by the Dylan track Quinn The Eskimo.
Three legendary artists came to Indiana, dodged some dodgy storms, and then entertained the crowd with each of their hit songs. Not a bad gig if you can get it.
Photos by Andy Skinner for Indy CD & Vinyl
Review by Annie & Andy Skinner for Indy CD & Vinyl
You can purchase LPs, CDs, and more by the band METRIC from Indy CD & Vinyl HERE!
You can purchase LPs, CDs, and more by the band GARBAGE from Indy CD & Vinyl HERE!
You can purchase LPs, CDs, and more by the band OASIS from Indy CD & Vinyl HERE!
You can purchase LPs, CDs, and more by NOEL GALLAGHER from Indy CD & Vinyl HERE!