22 February 2008

Super tardy animals

All I know's they're Welsh and not John Cale. Half-past two on Saturday afternoon, two members of Super Furry Animals sneak in the back of Stop Smiling magazine's Milwaukee Avenue HQ for a small secret show on a rare bright sunny afternoon. The Rolling Stones, they did it once at Double Door, and that's a legend; this is more like what guitarist Gruff Rhys calls "bitin' into my breakfast buffet." The thin white light of day glances around the storefront and 70 or so invitees' faces. "Sorry for keepin' ya, we'll be just two minutes, yeh? I'm in the process of tunin' me guitar, which just came from where we were last night. Minneapolis, where's it's bloody cold." He twangs, other guy asks, "How many soundmen does it take to screw in a light bulb? Two. One… Two." "We're just wakin' up, maybe soon we'll be bouncing off the wall." They're "militant" about not playing anything from their Metro set-list—"Maybe we'll just leave," Rhys deadpans. It's mellow, but for the man in orange Gore-Tex shouting love for "Ohio Heat!" It's charming, except when the view's blocked by iPhones held high for photos. (The ratio of people to viewfinders runs about 2-to-1.) The attenuated ugggg of number 56 buses in weekend traffic rises above the shambling bemusement, with the dazed affability of a hung-over soundcheck It's "kind of on the brink of pastiche… as we continue our hour of downer songs. Tonight we won't be talking so much."
[Originally appeared in Newcity in a slightly different form, 21 February 2008.]