Saturday, February 21, 2004
During the Super Furry Animals' concert Friday at The Grenada, the Welsh band played "The International Langauge of Screaming," appropriate since the band's set proved the international language of art.
"Calimero" was the only song in the group's native language, but the band's other-worldly brand of neo-pscyhedlia and rock spoke to all fans in attendence, who ranged from teenagers to baby boomers.
The group thrilled the nearly sold-out crowd with 19 songs, many of which featured their own animated short film, played tight and near-perfect. The impeccable performance wasn't too surprsing considering the band had 15 tour stops to perfect the standardized set list.
Lead singer and guitarist Gruff Rhys wasted no time in showing off the group's trademark absurdity, donning a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers-style helmet during the opening song, "Slow Life," off the group's sixth and most recent album, "Phantom Power."
Rhys and bandmates (guitarist Huw Bunford, drummer Dafydd Ieuan, keyboardist Cian CiÃ¡rÃ¡n and bassist Gut Pryce) then nailed four more fast and loud songs, including "Golden Retriever," and went all the way back "God! Show Me Magic" from their first release, "Fuzzy Logic." The group then spent the middle part of the concert showcasing their more recent slower and more artistic songs, including "Liberty Belle" and "Juxtaposed With U."
Both of those songs were backed by a short film, each of which added considerably to the song rather than taking away from it. Especially entertaining was the video for "Liberty Belle," which started with a Wonder Woman-like superheroine fighting crime before moving on to a masked wrestler doing the same.
Five more straight-ahead rock songs, including the aptly named "Out of Control," led to the group's usual finale, "The Man Don't Give a Fuck" -- music's answer to "Scarface" when it comes to the f-word. The closing song also gave the band the opportunity to finish with more silliness. Rhys, Bunford, Ieuan and Pryce left the stage after playing most of the song, with CiÃ¡rÃ¡n sticking around and playing some electronica for about 10 minutes. The other four band members then returned, dressed in their costumes from the video for "Golden Retrever," and finished the finale.
Though the audio and visual assault on the senses wasn't quite as impressive as the band's last appearance in Lawrence -- October of 2002 at the more intimate Bottleneck -- Saturday's show was a perfect example of how great music and art can work together and enhance each other, in any language.