Review - Super Furry Animals at the Brighton Dome
As the Super Furries stepped back onto a Brighton stage on Tuesday (December 13) the waves of affection and goodwill could probably be felt back in Cardiff.
It’s a beautiful thing they do, especially to men of a certain of age, who for a few hours precious hours let their mortgage worries and hair-loss sadness wash away in a warm tide of gonzo SFA goodness.
This time around Gruff, Huw, Guto, Cian and Dafydd were here for a double-dose of psychedelic nostalgia and performed their first two albums in their entirety.
Fuzzy Logic and Radiator celebrate their 20th and 19th anniversaries this year and both are wearing remarkably well.
But before the boys in boiler suits took to the stage Meilyr Jones’ exuberant support turn did a good job of emptying the Dome bar.
For Jones, the snake-hipped former frontman of the Race Horses, it appears the 90s, and subsequent crimes against pop music, never happened.
His gorgeous surging vocal-driven tunes harked back to 80s luminaries such as the Icicle Works, and he’s blessed with the charming bouncy on-stage charisma of a young Julian Cope.
The entrance of the Super Furries soon after caused a huge surge in Brighton’s happiness quota akin to what used to happen to the National Grid when people put their kettles on during the half-time ad break of the FA Cup final.
In 2015 they performed in Brixton the night after the General Election and lead singer Gruff greeted the Academy’s massed ranks of adoring accolytes by saying: “We’re the Super Furry Animals and we’re here to cheer you up.”
This week their very presence was enough, combined with trademark placards heralding the start of Fuzzy Logic.
The psych-glam guitar stylings of their debut album were always going to work well as live re-tread, because it was heaving with sing-along SFA anthems (four monsters were released from the one album) and is less experimental and more instantly lovable than their following eight long-players.
God! Show me Magic and Something for the Weekend and caused near rapture in the relatively sedate surroundings of the Dome standing area, and If you Don’t Want me to Destroy You, started the joyous communal singing in earnest.
Fuzzy Logic ended in a suitablly emotional scarf-waving and guitar-posing way, and it’s more complicated younger brother Radiator was ready to go.
On its release in 1997 Gruff described as the Radiator more interesting of the two albums, brimming with vintage synths, more complex arrangements but fewer immediate tunes.
The album provided a volley of singles (The International Language of Screaming, Play it Cool, and Demons) brought a tear to the eye of the more excitable SFA fans, and Herman Loves Pauline whipped up significant pockets of lads-together minor moshing.
Fortunately, things took a calmer turn with the more complicated, back-end of side two of Radiator, or as Gruff called it; “The downer-hour”.
Of course it was nothing of the sort and the highlight was the album’s closing track Mountain People.
The latest live take on the song was a much tougher affair than its 90s forebear and now boasts a even more chaotic, near-apocalyptic meltdown conclusion.
A triumphant stomp through Man Don’t Give a ... (the expletive-crazy live favourite which didn’t appear on either album) and and a quick spot of messing about it in Yeti costumes and they were done.
After almost two hours onstage (albeit two hours of near-adulation) the band didn’t appear to show even a trace of reluctance towards bashing out the old songs.
Instead they performed them with superb effortless musicality, honed from decades of playing together and were with the loving crowd every step of the way.
More gigs showcasing their back catalogue would obviously be marvellous, but an album of new material would be even better.