31 October 2007

Super Furry Animals/Jim Noir/The Adam Hussain Show - Carling Academy Oxford - October 26, 2007 (Greg.)

2 Aban - Year 1386

The Furries were back in town last Friday night--so of course we had to go. It's been a couple of years since we caught them last. They're touring to support the Hey Venus! record and stopped at the Carling Academy.

This time we ate at the Red Star noodle bar opposite the venue. The grub was good, but unfortunately, due to the bench seating, you sometimes end up next to annoying berks. That didn't spoil the meal, however, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, (sorta) healthy, cheap-ish dinner. After that, we queued up outside the Academy to score our tickets. It was the same procedure as last time, only it took longer this time because there were two shows on and nobody knew which queue to join. The Furries show was in the downstairs bit, which has been renovated quite heavily. We hadn't seen it since the refurbishment, so it would be a surprise to see what had been done. I walked in...and my first impression was that it looks a lot like the student union at Brookes now. A cavernous space with a soundboard in the centre and the bars off to the sides. There's also a lounge area in the back of the room with another bar.

We were hoping to catch Jim Noir, as he played a solid set supporting Shack last year. The Carling site mentioned that he would be onstage at 7:30. We were there at about 7:40 and he was already playing--in fact, it appeared he was nearly done with his bit. He was, so we only watched him perform the last few tunes. Going by what we saw, the new album seems to be a bit more 'rock', with less of the Beatles-y flourishes--but retaining some of the nice harmonies. His back-up band have been cut back to just a four-piece, too--I'd swear the drummer is the guy from The Boo Radleys, but I could be wrong. I surmised that the whole show had been moved up, at least Jim Noir's slot had been. The other support act, The Adam Hussain Show, must've gone on right at 6:30 p.m., so we completely missed him. Hussain is a member of the Goldie Lookin' Chain collective and he would make an appearance following the Furries' main set.

We made our way toward the middle of the floor, a bit off to the right. The roadies broke down Jim Noir's gear and set up SFA's. Soon enough, the floor began to fill up and we were surrounded. The tallest bloke in the place (it seemed like) walked up and stood in front of us - so we moved to our left and found another pretty good spot. Finally, the lights dimmed and the sounds of Baby Ate My Eightball (from the new album, Hey Venus!) flowed out through the speakers. The boys walked out, the crowd roared and away they went. Pixie couldn't see much and began to get frustrated and a bit claustro, so we moved to the back of the crowd, near the lounge. The main set was a mixture of tunes off "Hey Venus!" and back catalogue (touching on Radiator, Guerilla, R.O.T.W., Phantom Power and Love Kraft). A fast-paced Do Or Die (from "Guerilla) early on was a surprise, as was a rocked-out Golden Retriever ("Phantom Power") and She's Got Spies (from "Radiator"). The new album got plenty of stage time midway through, with Into The Night, Show Your Hand & Battersea Odyssey all getting the live treatment. The band seemed to be in good spirits and Gruff Rhys was doing his trademark near-indecipherable between-song banter. Eventually, they cranked out Receptacle For The Respectable and announced they were taking a break. A couple of guys strolled onstage wearing Superman capes. I thought they were roadies come to check the gear, but it turned out to be Adam Hussain and an accomplice. They rapped out a tune about drinking (the chorus went something like: "I like drinking all night long/I like drinking right until the dawn..") and the crowd seemed to enjoy it.

The headliners were soon back on stage and the second set started with Slow Life, followed by a couple of 'oldies' from the first full-length, Fuzzy Logic, God! Show Me Magic and If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You--it was nice to hear them digging that far back into their past. (Drawing) Rings Around The World was played soon after (it had to be, dinnit?), with a lovely Hello Sunshine up next. I nearly thought they were going to finish without The Man Don't Give A Fuck--but no, they launched into it just before the end. It wasn't the 20-minute epic version from a couple of years ago, but it was good enough for my money. The show came to a close with a sorta low-key Keep The Cosmic Trigger Happy--while Huw Bunford was holding up a board with "SFA Says Thank You Oxford" spelled out in electrical tape. A roadie walked on with another board saying "The End". The applause grew quiet only after more crew started breaking the equipment and drumkit down--then we all knew there wouldn't be any encores. We left quickly, to beat most of the crowd out of the doors and walked back into town to get the bus home. As always, a chance to see SFA live makes for a great time, despite all of the hassles. I would recommend catching them on this tour--especially as it may be some of the last times they'll be playing the "Fuzzy Logic" stuff. 'Till next time...

(I grabbed this set-list from a Last.fm member. It's from the Rock City, Nottingham gig from a few nights before the Oxford show. The line-up is probably slightly different--but it's similar enough for you to get a good idea of the Oxford sets)

Baby Ate My Eightball
Golden Retriever
Do Or Die
She's Got Spies
The Gateway Song
Northern Lights
Battersea Odyssey
Down A Different River
Let The Wolves Howl At The Moon
Ymaelodi Â'r Ymylon
The Gift That Keeps Giving
Juxtapozed With U
Show Your Hand
Receptacle For The Respectable
Slow Life
(Drawing) Rings Around the World
Neo Consumer
God! Show Me Magic
If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You
Hello Sunshine
The Man Don't Give a Fuck
Keep the Cosmic Trigger Happy


Anonymous said...

Really glad you had a good time, apart from the hassles you mention. Haven't seen SFA live for long while. I hope to catch them maybe some time next year or so. I would have loved to have heard 'God! Show Me Magic'.

The Purple Gooroo said...

It was a good show - despite all the incessant chattering and that. Defintely a nice surprise to hear the stuff from "Fuzzy..." and "Radiator". They've got a pretty good back catalogue now and can afford to choose what they play.