Monday, November 07, 2005

The Man Don't Give a Fuck

Super Furry Animals @ Webster Hall 11/5/05
We got there a bit late, but we managed to catch about half of Caribou's opening set. I like their new record The Milk of Human Kindness, but I wasn't sold on their live show. Instead of just a guy and his laptop, which is what I was expecting, it was 3 member band with 2 drummers and one member (Dan Snaith) who occasionally played keyboards and a melodica on one song. At times, it was very noisy and high energy, but mostly it was just strange and while it tried to put me in a different head space, it didn't quite succeed, even with the visual backdrops, partly because of Webster Hall's poor sound and partly because I generally don't think this stuff translates that well live.

After dealing with yet another bartender who doesn't seem to know how to count or take orders (Webster Hall seems to have lots of these), Super Furry Animals (in matching spacesuits; for one song during the encore Gruff Rhys put on a helmet!) took the stage. This was my 1st time seeing them and it was clearly a weird show and not one for the uninitiated. Despite that, I still enjoyed it. After a lackluster first few songs during which they either tried to find their footing or weren't into it, most of the main set consisted of songs from their new Love Kraft, which I enjoyed but which also seemed to bore most of the audience (either that or they were really attentive). Love Kraft is a fine album and one that's grown on me a lot since I got it and didn't like it at first, but it's atmospheric, complex and not at all immediate, so I imagine that it must've been a difficult show for fans to swallow if they hadn't heard it or in the case of my girlfriend, not familiar with the band's music at all. Nevertheless, the new album's material was played well and unlike the 1st few songs, with lots of enthusiasm. Highlights included "Atomik Lust", the 3-part "Cloudberries" and the incredible Funkadelic via Beck "Lazer Beam", which was played as part of the encore.

This was only the first part of the show, however. During the long encore, starting off with "Slow Life" from 2003's amazing Phantom Power, they played their old hits including "Rings Around the World" and "The Man Don't Give a Fuck", which they closed with complete with a backdrop that read "All Governments are Liars and Murderers" and which played a sample of it over and over again. During this portion of the show, it was obvious that the audience was really into it as they were really going wild for these songs, which is understandable since they're more catchy and immediate.

Overall, it was an enjoyable show despite Webster Hall's poor sound and "bad vibes" (apparently when Devendra Banhart played there a few weeks ago, he sensed "bad vibes" and that bad things had happened there before; I wouldn't doubt it) and the fact that they didn't play "Liberty Belle" or "Back on a Roll", 2 of my favorite songs from their last few albums.

Here's what the stage looked like from where we were standing (in the middle of the floor off on the left-hand side). Thanks Anne!

PREVIOUSLY: My review of Rilo Kiley @ Webster Hall back in May
My review of The Fiery Furnaces @ Webster Hall back in April

The above picture of Gruff with helmet was taken at the recent Toronto show and it's from For the Records.

Bill also wrote a terrific review of this show. You can read it here.


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