Pop review: Super Furry Animals UEA, Norwich

"Please note crowd surfing is not permitted," it said on the tickets. Ferried aloft like the packed lunches of some strain of giant ants, several students in tonight's audience gleefully ignored the ban. Earlier, SFA's shaggy-haired singer Gruff Rhys had confessed he felt tempted to sing a chorus of "Born in the UEA". When this pun at Springsteen's expense segued into one about "Surfing UEA", die-hard fans couldn't resist taking him literally.

Such joie de vivre was understandable, for Super Furry Animals' "love" show has recently developed into a mini-extravaganza which bombards the sensorium. Gruff stood stage right with a huge, inflatable thought-bubble above his head. At strategic moments, words and images were projected on to it. To his left, the giant inflatable light bulb above Huw Bunford cast the lead-guitarist as a man of ideas. Centre stage was dominated by a brace of kettle drums.

While we read their minds on the inflatables, our ears were sweetly blasted by a quadraphonic sound-system previously used by both Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead. This was particularly effective at the end of "Smokin'", with textured throbs of analogue synth shafting us from behind, hitting our aural G-spots and drawing us into the vortex of the song's Funkadelic- meets-Rod Stewart chorus. Whether the song is a marijuana-nation anthem, or - as Gruff recently joked - a rallying call for Britain's mackerel fishermen, it grooves mightily.

Earlier, "Ice Hockey Hair" (those helmets play havoc with your barnet, apparently) was a mid-set highlight. This title track from the band's new EP funnels psychedelia and acid house influences into test tubes fizzing with pop suss. With it's "now that you're here tell me you're a non-believer" outre-hook grafted on a la "Hey Jude", the audience found its climactic qualities irresistible.

Those kettle drums, incidentally, were played just once. A decadent appendage to the sonic arsenal, they were a reminder that SFA are shifting up a gear on all fronts. Perhaps Creation records have realised that, with the Gallagher brothers poised at the top of the down escalator, and the Super Furry's penning monster tunes on an almost weekly basis, these former patrons of the Welsh anarcho-punk circuit are worthy of a little more financial muscle.

The closing two numbers of their near-two-hour-set were divine. First, we got "God Show Me Magic" - its indie T-Rex hook clear proof that he did - then they closed with "The Man Don't Give A Fuck". As the sensurround sound kicked-in to add ironic weight to the song's 52 expletives, I watched a girl being ported out on a St John's ambulance stretcher. Just mild hysteria, I think.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

    £15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

    £11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

    £15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy