Don't look at them, just pogo yourself to oblivion, advises Ryan Gilbey
pop Supergrass, Glasgow
Saturday 12 August 1995
It's happened at just the right time for Supergrass, what with cockneys and mockneys winning front covers when a year ago they couldn't have got arrested for half-inching jellied eels on Brick Lane market. These days, you can't tell where one band of cheeky chappies east-ends and another begins. The fact that Supergrass are from Oxford hasn't really entered into things. All that matters is that they are young, they run free, they keep their teeth nice and clean. And that they are, when you get down to it, alright.
At Glasgow's T in the Park festival last weekend, there was no way of telling how clean their teeth were, although if you want to know the average pogoing velocity achieved by the shirtless 16-year-old Motherwell lad that I was glued to by mutual perspiration, that's a different matter altogether. When you go to see Supergrass, you don't really see them at all, unless you time your own pogoing in such a way that you - let's say `X' - are in the air when the person in front of you - we'll call him `Y' - is on the ground, and vice versa. Should rock 'n' roll really demand such a firm grasp on algebraic law?
No. Because when you do catch sight of the band, you wish you hadn't. I'm not going to add to the column inches already devoted to singer Gaz's shagpile-cut-offs-masquerading-as-sideburns (though I will just offer a single word of advice: Gillette), or the band's physiognomical peculiarities. But if ever anyone proved that it's the music that counts, it's this bunch.
The sheer raunch of the live set compensates tenfold for the lack of any discernible sex object up there on stage. Their recent hit "Alright" is introduced by Gaz as "Stairway to Heaven". He must mean that people are sick to death of it, and he's nearly right. But, odd as it might sound to anyone for whom rock'n'roll means not sitting in the seat numbered on your ticket, there really is little to match the ecstacy of hurling yourself around with a bunch of strangers as ringing guitars fizz in your ears like Coca-Cola bubbles.
There's no scope to the songs - apart from the Beatles-y "She's So Loose" - they're all teen-angst rock comedies like the breakneck "Caught By The Fuzz". And ultimately, they're peddling the same rock-as-community ethic as Status Quo (with the same sex appeal). But it's about being young, arrogantly so, something which men in pony-tails and cardboard denim just don't understand.
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