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This article was posted on Crazy Beat Music  on 19th July 2009. Although a little clunky in its execution, this was the first thing I recall writing for a third party. We were sponsored by Magners Cider to review the gig as VIPs, in exchange for some social media coverage, hashtagging, pics of us holding bottles of Magners, etc. If anyone is reading this, I am not ashamed to sell my soul in such a fashion. It was a great experience!

(An interesting addition, HERE is an article my brother did about it, from the other side of the looking glass – complete with said pics!)

Fervent eruptions of indistinguishable sounds. Cardboard effigies of Nick McCarthy. The most psychedelic of atmospheres. Smiles all round. It must be another Super Furry Animals gig.

Nestled in the lavish courtyard of Somerset House this is certainly a stunning place to play a gig, and there is an apparent sense of anticipation as to whether the Furries will be able to match up to these surroundings. Taking to the stage (sadly sans their trademark Yeti costumes) before night has fallen and launching into Slow Life, a song with such scope that most bands would leave it to the end, it is obvious that SFA have their sights set on greater goals.

From a slightly shaky start, and interestingly getting fan favourites such as (Drawing) Rings Around the World and Juxtapozed With U out of the way early on, they launched into a set that scaled the heights and trawled the depths of their impressively diverse back catalogue. While playing relatively obscure cuts from Radiator a brief glimpse around the crowd revealed a sea of mouths reciting in unison. It was clear that the band was not afraid to pull out their lesser known wonders as everybody in the audience were devoted fans and were hanging on every note.

The omission of numerous hits was refreshing, as was the laid-back nature of both the band and the crowd. There was a sense of rapport and mutual respect between artist and fan, with the usual crowd activities occurring with seemingly military precision, or indeed when dictated by Gruff Rhys and his seemingly endless supply of crowd cue cards, scrawled in giant black marker pen and bearing such messages as “Applause!”, “Woah!” and in one perfectly executed display of comedic genius an instruction written so minutely that it was incomprehensible to everybody who gazed upon it.

The sheer enjoyment and artistry on display here was something that I have not seen many bands achieve, nor am I likely to for quite a while I suspect. Although avoiding commercial success for the past few years, Super Furry Animals continue to prove that with the quality of their recorded output and live shows they are still on top of their own individual castle of manic genius.

Super Furry Animals at Somerset House is part of the Summer Series sponsored by Coca-Cola. CBM were guests courtesy of Magners (cheers chaps! – MC), who you can follow on twitter @magnersUK

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