Super Furry Animals

October 19th, 2003

Birmingham Carling Academy, 17th October 2003

Having already received ‘tour of the month’ in this months Q magazine I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed by the Super Furry Animals tonight. This was despite the ludicrous £6.30 parking charge at the NCP next door. Still, it was worth it.

The support band, Dead Meadow kicked off the show with a sound of early Verve mixed with Black Sabbath’s dirge rock. It was a good sound and their songs were long, psychedelic behemoths that were played over a backdrop of ancient Hong Kong cinema. They were enjoyable but perhaps on for a little too long for a support act.

Next up, the Super Furry Animals. They came onstage to an intro tape which melted beautifully into ‘Slow Life’ – the final track on their latest (and best) album ‘Phantom Power’. The singer (Gruf) was hilarious in his Power Rangers-esque head mask. What that was all about I haven’t a clue.

The quickly moved on through a set of live favourites, shunning much of the Welsh-language material from Mwng. So we had ‘Rings Around the World, Golden Retriever, Demons, Hello Sunshine, Do or Die, Something for the weekend, Northern Lites, Run! Christian, Run!, Liberty Belle, City Sky Scrape Baby, Bleed Forever, Herman Loves Pauline, Juxtaposed with you, Sex, War and Robots, Piccolo Snare, Receptacle for the Respectable, Out of Control and Man don’t give a Fuck. No short set!

Despite the length of the set, the audience was kept thoroughly amused by the unique SFA wit and various musical styles employed during the evening. You had your stoner rock (Golden Retriever, Out of Control), Easy-going country (Bleed Forever, Sex, War and Robots), Indie Pop (Something for the weekend) and even death metal (Receptacle for the Respectable). In fact ‘Receptacle’ is a monstrous opus that moves through so many musical styles that it should win a Guinness Record or something.

The band seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the gig and Gruf merrily chatted away to the audience. The visual projections were stunning and the two Phantom Power horses either side of the set just added that extra attention to detail that sets the Super Furry Animals aside from their contemporaries. Indeed it is a wonder that the mainstream has never taken the band to their hearts in the manner of Coldplay or Oasis. I guess the SFA are just a bit too weird for them. Judging by the heaving areana, there are plenty of fans out there. I cant wait to see them again. Top gig.