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Super Furry Animals – Somerset House 8th July 2005

It’s the evening after the day before. London is in a weird twilight state, quaveringly licking its wounds and defiantly getting on as usual (after the bombings, a message on the intranet at work tells me that we’re all expected to show up on time for work the next day– no excuses).

We shuffle along to Somerset House, generally the scene of sedate art exhibitions (although I once saw some Picassos here – yowser!) and kids drenching themselves in the decorative fountains. Tonight there are no old masters or water-based larks to be had. Instead there are strange rules about not bringing in your own food and drink; a bottle of home-made vod and coke is fine as long as you remove the lid, thus disabling it as a stage-bound missile, sandwiches are The Devil and on no account allowed in, despite the fact that food isn’t being sold on the premises. Plus, big excitement, there are zillions of toilets for all!

So here we all are in the windswept, cobbled courtyard with the sky turning a funny colour. It’s not really like a festival apart from the fact that you have to queue for ages for some rubbish beer. Zabrinski play a set of sub-SFA songs, probably quite rip-roaring numbers when taken on their own, but really what’s the point when we’re all waiting for the real thing?

She's got City...
...I've got Guilds... SFA shamble on clad in sort of anti-radiation, hooded boiler suits. They proceed in a drifty, woozy manner with ‘Slow Life’ and a subdued ‘Rings Around the World’. Maybe they’re a bit uncertain how to set the tone after yesterday, but then we’re all feeling somewhat shell-shocked; facilitating between horror, confusion, disgust, anger and that good old British response of wanting to blot the whole thing out with alcohol, jump up and down and go waaarrghh! Which is where Super Furries come into their own. It’s a set of two halves. We’re treated to a selection of songs from the forthcoming ‘Love Kraft’ album including the yummily glammy buzz-fest of ‘Lazer Beam’, twisted folk of ‘The Horn’ and the curious triptych (something about locusts?) ‘Cloudberries’. ‘Frequency’, ‘Zoom!’, ‘Atomic Lust’ , ‘Ohio Beat’ all whet the appetite for ‘Love Kraft’ by all sounding fantastic. At some point in proceedings as the light dims, the Super Furries’ suits start to glow in the half-light like they’re picking up radioactive particles. We’re all doomed, but hey lets not freak out, eh?
Gruff attempts to address the situation that’s hanging over the whole event by introducing ‘Fire In My Heart’ with “… I suppose that's the problem when you declare war on terror - people are going to start fighting back.” He has a point, but the statement is unsurprisingly met with a mixed reaction. Still, under tonight’s circumstances the song somehow shakes off the corniness that’s atrophied around it (as Gruff says, they don’t play it very often as it tends to ‘induce vomiting’) and becomes quite moving. Then there’s ‘Run Christian Run’. Oh god, everything’s getting a bit meaningful. Luckily we’re soon into the wave yer hands in the air section of crowd-pleasing stormers. Really, the SFA back-catalogue is such a vast and pleasing one that they have infinite set list possibilities, but the band plump for time-honoured faves like ‘Juxtapozed With U’, ‘Do Or Die’ ‘Play It Cool’ (clap clap), ‘Something For The Weekend’ and the eternally delightful ‘Demons’ (perfect for gazing up into the pinky skies). Then they play ‘Ice Hockey Hair’ and I pretty much lose it. Good God it’s mind-bogglingly, sun-kissingly perfect. desktop publishing.

Of course the grand finale is ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuck’. Can one ever tire of jumping up and down shouting along to this? No, one can’t. I’ve been doing it for nigh on ten years now (off and on, obviously) and the joy of throwing oneself about in disgust at ‘the man’ never palls. In fact tonight it takes on a whole ‘nother nuance.

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