Live Forever and Blurd at the Academy – Review
Ahead of the much anticipated Blur set that everyone will surely want to attend this coming September at Electric Picnic, crowds gathered at The Academy to enjoy the cream of their impressive back catalogue as performed by English outfit, Blurd. They share the stage with Live Forever, a Dublin act performing the very best of Oasis tonight. Billing these two tributes together is clever marketing to say the least, even if it is a tad indulgent. Having released the sublime Magic Whip in April, interest in Blur has never been higher, which is made clear by the masses of people of all ages queuing to get their fill of 90s pop gold.
Blurd are up first and they waste no time before jumping straight into the classic, ‘Girls and Boys’. Immediate impressions are that the band are tight, notably the rhythm section. The guitarist and singer however fail to reach the perhaps impossible standards that we may have allowed ourselves to expect. Hit after hit come and golden tunes such as ‘There’s No Other Way’ and ‘Parkilfe’ get the crowd going. They score extra points for aesthetics as the band are all dressed remarkably similar to the originals. It’s a little tacky, but it suits the vibe well.
The band engage with the crowd well, and frequently indulge in banter with each other, namely by bashing Oasis and referring to the infamous chart battles of decades gone by. The lads finish up the set with ‘The Universal’, which much to our delight, is about as good as humanly possible. The string sections and soaring vocals evoke the best reaction the crowd has given all night, and really makes us remember how good Blur tunes are.
After a prompt filling of the remainder of the venue’s capacity, Live Forever take centre stage and spearhead straight to the britpop gold. The band are clearly professional in their playing and make it evident they are more than just a karaoke band. Like their chums in Blurd, the band are dressed just like the Gallagher brothers, most notably the main singer, who even boasts the same arrogant persona. We’re treated to gems such as ‘Roll with it’, ‘Whatever’ and ‘Supersonic’ in quick succession. The guitar tone on these tunes is remarkably close to Noel Gallagher’s, and stands out the most in comparison to everything else. The crowd is “Mad For It” as they say.
After the opening few tunes, the excitement drops considerably, as most of the crowd perhaps sober up and try figure out why it stopped being fun. You can only get so much out of playing someone else’s songs and the two bands sharing the same bill is perhaps too much. The band soldiers on however and more classics such as a passionate rendition of’ Little By Little’ and ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ are performed impressively, albeit derivatively. The band of course end the set with ‘Wonderwall’, which energises the audience to the max. There isn’t perhaps a single person in the western world who doesn’t know the lyrics, so the roof is raised with everyone giving their vocal chords a workout. A clever way to end the show to be sure.
The two bands did their job of reminding us of how good guitar pop music has been in the past, and temporarily made us forget we were watching five men from Dublin pretending to be the real Oasis. Never fear though, the real Blur will be gracing our presence this coming September in Stradbally for Electric Picnic. Unlike this time, it won’t be one to miss.
Review by Finn O’Reilly