Britpop is back, and no you’re not dreaming. Liam Gallagher has hit the road with his post-Oasis band Beady Eye, while Brett Anderson is back fronting Suede and bashing out the band’s greatest hits. With Beady Eye making their way around the O2 Academy venues and Suede set to play Brixton Academy, it's time for another battle of the bands to see how Suede stacks up against Liam's lot.
Oasis were one half of the biggest Britpop battle our fair isle has ever seen, clashing with Blur in the race for number one back in the 1990s. The contest made the 10 o'clock news, and while Blur won the battle, Oasis stayed in the war. Manchester’s finest consistently released albums while Blur shattered into solo projects and spin-offs. Now Oasis are no more, Beady Eye is effectively the final Oasis line up without Liam's brother Noel.
Suede were at the artier end of Britpop spectrum, with Brett Anderson coming off like a council estate David Bowie. While Anderson was unbearably pretentious at times, Suede pumped out a run of catchy singles and albums that hold up in a way that much of the Oasis output doesn't. Sure, they’re poppy, but in a much more highbrow way.
Suede managed to stick around in one form or another from 1989 to 2003 (with one early line up including future Elastica frontwoman Justine Frischmann), and reformed in 2010 for a series of successful reunion gigs. By our calculations that gives them 15 years in the business.
Technically speaking, Beady Eye formed in 2009 but given that the band is comprised of the final Oasis lineup who stayed put after Noel and Liam Gallagher's combustible relationship finally went boom, we'll give them credit for some of those years. The last member of Beady Eye to join Oasis was drummer Chris Sharrock. He joined them in 2008 so that gives the clan now known as Beady Eye four years together, all told.
Suede had a fractious relationship at its heart for years, with guitarist Bernard Butler and frontman Brett Anderson bashing lumps out of each other repeatedly. Curiously they later went on to release a record as a duo (under the name The Tears), but Butler has not been part of the Suede line up since 1994.
Don't head to a Beady Eye gig expecting to hear Oasis songs. Noel and Liam have been engaged in a war of words ever since Oasis split, and while Beady Eye's management have presented them as a brand new entity, they’re inevitably compared to Oasis. Cue Liam Gallagher going loopy, and kiss goodbye to a closing rendition of Wonderwall at the next Beady Eye gig.
Brett Anderson on Liam Gallagher: "It there's anything I would define as rock'n'roll, it's about passion. It's not about pretending to be John Lennon and wearing his glasses and getting your hair cut like him. That's theme-park rock'n'roll." (2009)
Liam Gallagher on…um…Liam Gallagher: "“I’m not a pop star. And if I am, I’m a real one, matey. I haven’t been invented, I’m an average lad who was born in Burnage, who played conkers. Conkers, mate, conkers." (1994)
And the winner is…
A split decision. If you're craving the retro thrill of hearing songs that soundtracked the mid-90s, Suede is the way to go with Anderson and company cranking out their classic albums. But if you're after a true rock'n'roll sideshow, Liam Gallagher is your man, with Beady Eye bashing out Small Faces-influenced meat and potatoes tunes behind him.