A/V Room









And the night belonged to Super Furry Animals

Review: Roland Stanbridge-Miles

Down the Dustpipe (Super Furry Animals and co), Royal Festival Hall, April 19, 2003

AS WE settle into our exclusive boxes (you don't have to be posh, ok, I've got a double-barrelled name, which means nothing these days!) the roadies are setting up and testing the instruments.

Except they're testing three at the same time, and for longer than normal.

And they look too old to be roadies? OK, they're actually 70s rockers, The Groundhogs. And they're actually not bad. No vocals though.

I couldn't think of a more appropriate singer for this band than the old man who sits on the northbound platform of King's Cross Thameslink, entertaining drunken revellers returning to their Bedfordshire homes (or Hertfordshire, if they're rich).

Next on, is a woman I've never seen at King's Cross Thameslink, Vashti Bunyan, who receives a very warm welcome.

She says something about a song she wrote in the 60s, prompting the
surprised cry of "You're not that old!!" from my uncouth friend in the adjacent box.

Her well-received, nicey-nicey jingly jangly inoffensive songs are, frankly, quite dull - prompting me to wish they would bring back the hairy old men!!

If Super Furry Animals (SFA) were going home, they wouldn't have to use Thameslink, as they're from Wales, so they would need to go to Paddington.

But SFA are the best band in the world. Fact. Or in my opinion, at least, which should let you know where I'm coming from.

Tonight, extra shaggy-haired Gruff leads them through an acoustic-type
set in a show very different from their Rings Around The World tour - a few songs from Mwng, a few rarely heard gems from their early albums, and, of course, a few from their new album 'Phantom Power'.

Without exception, they are wonderful - thoughtful and caring, as demonstrated when they pause halfway through a song as a pissed dancer, down the front, manages to fall underneath the stage.

As we sit looming high above them like gods, they reward us with a performance that is truly heavenly.

Anything after that should be an anti-climax and, of course, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks are.

But as anticlimaxes go, they're a pretty good one.

Pre-gig, a Malkmus fan, who likes the new album, admits that it might be difficult to get into.

He was right, for two of my gang fell asleep, but I think that was due to the alcohol intake, rather than lullaby-like music.

Malkmus was quite enjoyable, overall, but the night (and my heart) belongs to the Super Furry Animals.


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