Oasis: Supersonic is a profanity-filled insight into the Mancunian legends' early success
Liam Gallagher is kicking off his solo career, with rumours rife about him playing at Glastonbury Festival (they briefly, accidentally, added him to the website line-up…?), Andy Bell is confirmed as playing at Glastonbury with his first band Ride, and Noel Gallagher will be in attendance to introduce Oasis: Supersonic at the William’s Green area on the Friday, so now feels like as good a time as any for a reunion. Whilst this has been something speculated about every year, I can’t help but feel that there is more of a chance this time (famous last words); Noel not joining Liam at the One Love Manchester gig may suggest otherwise, but there’s no telling with these guys. Although watching the film has dangerous potential to build up hype about a reunion that might not happen (risking being left miserable and bitterly disappointed after Glastonbury), Oasis: Supersonic paints a riveting picture of the early days and peak of Oasis’ success in the 90s.
Under Mat Whitecross’ direction the documentary gives an intriguingly nostalgic insight into the formative years of a band, full of conflict, creativity and controversy. Opening with their legendary performance at Knebworth, the band arrive in true diva style in a helicopter, with the shots stylised to give the appearance of a classic 60s rock concert. This old school, cartoonish animation and comical style is appropriate for a band so heavily influenced by The Beatles, and at the forefront of the 90s Britpop wave of 60s nostalgia. There are some remarkably good soundbites from this documentary, with each band member receiving humorously honest descriptions, the bands initial members consisted of: Liam Gallagher – ‘little attention seeker’; Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs – ‘mad cunt’; Paul “Guigsy” McGuigan – ‘loved cricket, weed, Doctor Who, and Man City’; Tony McCarroll – ‘the quiet one’. Noel Gallagher did not properly join the band until after their first gig in 1991, but he was always writing and playing the guitar before Oasis were formed, in the documentary he explains that he ‘discovered weed and guitars […] why would you want to go out’.
Within the first five minutes you know that you are going to get: a candid, profanity-filled exploration of who exactly Oasis were and how ‘lads from a council estate, two brothers, two headcases’ became some of the most successful artists of their generation. The entire film is made up of archival footage, interspersed with animations, with narration and interviews from all of the band members and key figures who contributed to Oasis’ stardom. Whitecross contextualises the band without creating a fact and figures based historical documentary. Oasis: Supersonic presents a subjective perspective that gives background and behind-the-scenes information, which allows you to fully understand what was going on during their most prominent period as artists.
The narrative explores family conflicts, the culture of Manchester and immersion in ‘shit dance music’, how ‘Live Forever’ really kicked things off, as well as key personnel, like their sound technician Mark Coyle who was ‘really good at making it sound fucking epic’. Oasis: Supersonic is a documentary that impresses both visually and audibly, with its inclusion of demos and live performances, which is essential watching for a fan, but still a fascinating film for the casual viewer. The movie has a simple reasoning for Oasis’ hedonistic rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, which the public have become endlessly enticed by: ‘you can’t ask a 21 year old lad to be professional’. There’s a real craving for the return of Oasis,with both Gallagher brothers reunited, fuelled by Liam Gallagher’s recent media appearances and anthemic new single ‘Wall of Glass’, Oasis: Supersonic reminds you just how timeless they really are.