FilmSwoon’s first-ever guest columnist Anthony Chabala and I once traveled to New York City and sat outside a Manhattan movie theater from about 2 a.m. until roughly 5 p.m. in order to see the premiere of the Oasis concert documentary “Lord, Don’t Slow Me Down.” (Interestingly, that screening warranted an entry on the film’s Wikipedia page: “A handful of fans-only private screenings took place around the world with the world premiere of the film at the Directors Guild Theater in New York City on 4 November 2006 as part of the CMJ Film Festival.” (Our long wait was memorably referenced in Britain’s New Musical Express, but I cannot find the link.)
It was a memorable weekend that was undoubtedly worth it. Why do I bring it up? To demonstrate the commitment Anthony has to Oasis, and now, to Liam Gallagher and Beady Eye. BDI released a new video this week, and it is the band’s finest to date. Here, Anthony takes a close look at Beady Eye’s “Shine a Light,” a single from the band’s second album, “BE.”
This week, British superpower Beady Eye released the official video for their latest single, “Shine a Light,” directed by Charlie Lightening, a Manchester native who is slated to be the next Spike Jonze. Both band and director created what I consider to be the one of the best music videos since the early 1990s, a time when music was awful but the videos were often beautifully filmed mini motion pictures. (Remember the videos for “November Rain” or “Estranged” by Guns N Roses?)
It seems that the good people writing the Beady Eye checks finally accepted the fact that in order to make money, you have to spend money. Unlike prior attempts, their latest video has extras, locations, wardrobe changes, effects, and most importantly, clarity — you can actually see the band. Ever since the days of the camera spinning above Liam Gallagher decked out in a full beard and Lennon glasses in the “Champagne Supernova” video, tried and true Oasis fans (and non-Oasis fans alike) have wanted to be Liam Gallagher. But with no equally memorable videos for more nearly two decades, this intense audience longing went seemingly cold … until this week, that is. Past Beady Eye videos were serviceable, to be sure, but they looked more like something an Andy Warhol wannabe made on a film-school budget rather than an actual piece of pristine promotion set out to advertise a band ready to take over the world.
Beady Eye are not only who I consider to be the best band in the world right now, they are undoubtedly the coolest looking. Liam Gallagher has always looked like he is ready to hit either the stage or the runway, and he still does. Guitarist Gem Archer resembles a young Paul McCartney, if McCartney were young in the year 3069. Bassist Andy Bell pulls off the nonchalant indie-rock star look that (with or without knowing) the Arctic Monkeys and all their offspring have taken credit for. New member Jay Mehler has that malnourished millionaire look we all hoped Ian Brown would end up with but never did. And the forever stylish Chris Sharrock … well, he drummed on “There She Goes,” so he could dress like Elton John during his Donald Duck hat phase and still be too cool for school. The point is, these are guys that you want to pretend to be when you are watching the “Shine a Light” video, and that feeling of audience intoxication has not only been lacking in Beady Eye videos, but music promotion in general.
“Shine a Light” features Liam Gallagher surrounded by beautiful, naked women. Why would you want Liam Gallagher surrounded by anything else but beautiful, naked women?! The video also has Liam dressed as both a devilish rock star heathen and then an innocent looking “man of the cloth.” His religious aura and momentary Christ-like pose while standing in front of a glimmering white light might not be subtle — you don’t have to be a character in a Dan Brown novel to decipher the symbols here — but they all make for great viewing.
My favorite part of the video is the highly elaborate and extremely well done “Last Supper”-like sequence. Here you have the band, a couple nuns, Liam the priest, and Liam the sinner, all at one table. A screenshot of this mad breaking of bread easily makes for album cover of the century. Plus, it has Beady Eye and Heavy Stereo legend Gem Archer, sitting at a table piled high with more charred meat than Donatella Versace’s tanning bed has ever seen … and he is a vegetarian.
This video brought me back to my youth. Back then, music videos were a way of knowing what my heroes looked like, and looking the part is just as important as sounding the part — paint no illusion. I was 15 years old when I stayed home all night to watch Liam in the “D’You Know What I Mean?” video, and I then had to go out and get the haircut, sunglasses, and green parka he wore. I was 16 when I first laid hands on Heavy Stereo’s Deja Voodoo LP, and to this day I am constantly searching eBay for the Indian Motorcycles shirt that Gem Archer dons in the studio photos. (I’ve come close sooo many times, but at least I ended up with the same Converse, and, at one time or another, have owned a near identical copy of every guitar he has ever been seen touching.) The image plays a crucial role in the overall product, and this video has the ingredients to act as a great promotional tool to gain new audiences and remind the Beady Eye faithful of why the members of this band are deserving of their place in music history.
Whether you loved Oasis or not, this is a video and a band worth checking out. If you are let down, I’m pretty sure Liam would say something along the lines of, “There’s something wrong with you, not us!”