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
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
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
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.