Noel Gallagher Q&A ahead of PennFest

Liz Nicholls


Rock music legend & dad Noel Gallagher, 55, shares his thoughts ahead of his star turn at PennFest in Buckinghamshire on 21st & 22nd July

Q. Hello! You must be excited about playing songs from the new album Council Skies at PennFest. Any songs standing out as potential live favourites?

“Well, I haven’t started rehearsing yet! I’d be amazed if Easy Now and Pretty Boy aren’t great live but, as of yet, we just don’t know.”

Q. “Johnny Marr will be on stage just before you at PennFest. You’ve collaborated previously many times and he also plays on your new album. What was it about The Smiths you particularly loved? And how does Johnny continue to inspire you?

“Like all the great bands they had an undefinable thing. Yes, the tunes were undeniably great – and they were amazing live – but there was ‘something’ else. As for what that ‘something’ was? I still don’t know.”

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Leftfield thrill fans with collaborative album

Round & About


Electronic and dancefloor pioneers Leftfield have delivered fans an early Christmas present with their new album This Is What We Do, out now

Just when we all needed a burst of energy, Leftfield’s new album This Is What We Do has delivered this with bells on.

Neil Barnes and Paul Daley joined forces to create Leftfield more than three decades ago. Now led by Neil, Leftfield remain at the cutting edge of music. This is their fourth studio album and taps into the much-needed themes of connection, love, acceptance, diversity and healing.

You’ve probably heard the new single, Full Way Round, starring Fontaines DC frontman Grian Chatten with a spoken-word verse over banging beats and a poignant twist.

The other 10 tracks are also works of collaborative genius including Making A Difference featuring a poem by Lemn Sissay, the roots City of Synths and Kraftwerk-infused Machines Like me.

Full of raw energy, Accumulator, which Neil describes as the most fierce and aggressive on the album, is a blast from the past, tapping into the original Leftfield sound.

Many of the tracks were conjured up before the pandemic. Neil has spoken movingly about being diagnosed with bowel cancer last year, and of the tumult in his life, including divorce and depression. By opening up about his experience with other students on his psychotherapy course, Neil says that he was able to face down his demons and free up space in his mind, allowing him to be more creative. After an incredibly fertile time in the studio, Neil went into overdrive when he received his cancer diagnosis, finishing a batch of demos and handing them to the record company the day before his colon operation.

Now in remission, he has earned all the praise the new album is earning, infused with hope and urgency, which is why it feels like it is pulsing with life.

He says: “I just decided, if I don’t get this done now, I will probably either die, or it will never be done.”