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?
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

    £18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

    Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power