Super Furry Animals: ‘Rhys’ ability to perform live is unique’

FOR THE Super Furry Animals’ final gig of their comeback tour, Gruff Rhys and his band of psychedelic mates played to a packed out Brixton Academy on May the 9th. They’d already played and sold out Brixton the night before, after playing in Cardiff and Manchester during the week.

super furry animalsThe build-up was calm yet bustling, as the SFA stepped on stage in white overall suits, a costume that would remain for the two hours, and be added upon with their famous blonde yeti wigs and Gruff Rhys’ Seperado Power Ranger-esque red mask. Early on tracks, “Ymaelodi ar yr Ymylon” and “Gwreiddiau Dwfn”, from the most recent, and recently re-released, LP Mwng, which first appeared 15 years ago to this coming Friday. Tracks like “Rings Around the World”; “If you Don’t Want Me To Destroy” and “Northern Lites”, with its maracas and Carribean drums, were appreciated greatly by the 4,000 plus crowd’ and as the Furries tuned up to play “Hello Sunshine” the screen, which was as creative and colourful as any Super Furry Animals album cover, changed to a rising sun of amber and orange. “Hello Sunshine” was followed by “Golden Retriever”, which I watched from the Tuborg bar, for my sins, which were two of the highlights of the evening.

Rhys’ ability to perform live is unique

Hello Sunshine at Brixton Academy

Hello Sunshine at Brixton Academy

To finish off, the final half an hour saw the presence of the famous yeti wigs for all SFA members, Huw Bunford, Guto Pryce, Cian Ciaran, Dafydd Ieuan and cool Gruff Rhys with the atmospheric use of synths and electronic noises used to built up from the start to the final minutes. They finished with “Man Don’t Give a F*ck”, which was welcomed by ruptures and an outbreak of an improvised 4,000 strong crowd dance. It was a united expression of frustration with the results of the recent General Election; Rhys refused to mention the returning Conservative Prime Minister in name, but even mention of the week’s political happenings were hissed and a chorus of boos with the song to end the night a direct message and two fingers to those at No. 10.

Rhys’ ability to perform live is unique, be that as an individual musician or with the Super Furry Animals; whilst on stage he remains in zone of calmness and zen, his reaction to the crowd is minimal yet somehow heartwarmingly honest, and his musical ability, known to have written and recorded a full album in under two weeks, can be applied to such a plethora of genres and lyrics sang bilingually. That is the Super Furry Animals, part of the Cwl Cymru revolution over two decades ago, who have returned better than ever, to an eagerly anticipating, committed old and new group of supporters that will most probably be reunited with the Super Furries later on during the Summer festivals. The Furries are all OK, and the crowd were pretty OK with them too.