A documentary about Oasis. As if there’s any mileage in those nice Gallagher brothers.
For one of its central characters, the events of documentary Supersonic don’t feel two decades old. “It feels like it was yesterday,” says Liam Gallagher. “I’ve not found God. I’ve not got into fucking Swahili music. I am still the exact same person that’s on that screen. So, for me, there’s been no big dramatic change.”
Given that he is today resplendent in a cagoule, sunglasses (indoors) and Knebworth-length hair, it’s not difficult to believe him. but there has been one big dramatic change in the years since Liam and his older songwriting brother, noel Gallagher, defined a generation: their band oasis ceased to exist as of August 2009, as did relations between the two brothers. but while it features an arm-wrestle between the two — “I let him win that, by the way,” notes Liam of the footage from 1995 — conflict in Supersonic is kept to a minimum.
“I remember that [arm-wrestling] footage being one of the first things I showed Liam and noel separately when they first came in for interviews,” says director mat Whitecross, a long-time oasis fan. “maybe it was just in my head, but it definitely felt like they both had a moment like, ‘Fucking hell, we were incredibly close.’”
rather than dissecting what went wrong, then, the film is a celebration of what made oasis special to so many people — as well as being side-splittingly funny and unexpectedly moving. Plenty of classic live performances and interviews are present and correct, but what’s remarkable — especially given the early ’90s was a time when far fewer people carried cameras than today — is how much fly-on-the-wall footage has been unearthed. We even get to see the sparsely attended Glasgow gig where oasis were first spotted by a record label. “It’s unbelievable that someone filmed that, really,” says Whitecross. “It was a Japanese student called Ayako. She was into the other bands that night, and when they [oasis] came on she must have thought, ‘Fuck it, I’ll film a couple of their songs.’ A lot of the smaller gigs in the film, it’s like, ‘Why was someone filming this?’ There was no reason to. but it’s lucky they did!”
The reasons for this film existing are simple. “The more we talked about it, the 20-year anniversary of Knebworth felt like what it should centre around,” Whitecross says. “So much time has passed, and I think the tabloid version of Liam and noel’s characters is what some people remember, rather than how it really was. So it felt like a good time to go back and redress the balance a little bit.”
right now, Liam Gallagher is ready to do just that.