Live Review

Super Furry Animals, Somerset House

Within 15 minutes they’ve pulled out the big hitters.

Without wasting a second, the Furries are on stage, the most genial men of rock, albeit ones that come with hints of eccentricity and other-worldliness spun throughout their ordinary exteriors. Gruff wears a Popeye cap, carries an applause sign – the first of these things is quickly disregarded and the latter duly obliged by the masses ahead.

Within 15 minutes they’ve pulled out the big hitters: ‘Rings Around The World’, ‘Juxtaposed With U’ and ‘Golden Retriever’. It’s staggering just how littered their career is with golden flecks of songwriting mastery – but where could they go from these pop winners? Even newie ‘Mt.’ – this one sung by Kieran – sounds stonking, all stalking bass and howling guitars and strings.

Opener to the set, ‘Slow Ride’ is similarly taken to collective bosom as an oldie-but-goodie, a long lost child of the Furry set, currently preoccupied with ‘Dark Days/Light Years’. The recent album could scale the ladder of varying success for SFA, particularly ‘The Very Best of Neil Diamond’ (introduced in a thick welsh tongue), with its funky clatter amid an almost spiritual set of verses.

Gruff’s caterwaul on ‘Moped Eyes’ is refreshingly James Brown where as the symphonic sweeps of melody in ‘Demons’ raises a whoop from the audience. These are aided and sometimes obscured by the effects knobs the frontman occasionally twiddles, side of stage left.

‘Neon Consumer’ puts in a late appearance to make the grade for a set noticeably absent of ‘Hey! Venus’ material. Its shutter-shock, rattled through and generally great for its lack of frills approach. Whereas the frankly bizarre ‘Trams’ has the addition of a cut out portrait of Nick McCarthy (Franz Ferdinand’s foot-stomping guitarist) is held aloft and given a mic during the German spoken-word section. Flamboyant to the last, Kieran simply states, “Nick was sorry he couldn’t make it tonight”.

So after some early revs of the hit-machine, a slightly meandering middle, the end brings their defiant crowd accompanied ‘The Man Don’t Give a Fuck’, which makes a crowning ending.

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