Two days of Furrymania as SFA promote ace new album with DVD shows, acoustic performances, DJ sets and general frazzled madness...
So the Super Furry massive take over London for the weekend (in spirit at least) having flung the same successful shindigs in Glasgow and Manchester earlier in the month. To some it might be seen as major label ostentation, but the ‘Furrymania’ bashes seem somewhat appropriate in the run-up to the band’s ‘Rings Around The World’ opus. What with the simultaneous DVD release and all, there’s a much bigger picture on
view this time around, whatever way you look at it.
The sonic mindfuck that is ‘Rings…’ is undeniably even more arresting and compelling when watching the accompanying DVDs in a tasteful cinema in mind-blowing surround sound. With each track farmed out to a different movie-maker, the lack of cohesion when they’re seen together is entirely appropriate in view of the album’s gonzoid genre-hopping.
During one of the screenings a fight breaks out over The Ministry Of Truth’s powerful film for ‘Run! Christian, Run!’, in which the disturbing nature of Christianity is spelled out by quotes from the Bible, TV evangelists, Hitler and the like. And just after the plea for social justice that is ‘Juxtapozed With U’ is presented so sweetly, too. Shame on you.
The evening is rounded off in a Camden club, where the band transfer their brash eclecticism to the decks. NME’s evening is interrupted by a young SFA fan who insists – about, oh, a hundred times – that he’s not going home without nicking one of the huge ‘Juxtapozed With U’ posters from the wall. Eventually, he grabs one, sticks it up his jumper, and runs out before anyone can catch him. Fights and theft, eh? That’s what mania does for you.
The day of the gig proper, but before that SFA are gonna entertain us with an acoustic gig in the hip, but cramped, confines of the Social in the West End. The band have with them a bingo caller, who reads out numbers which correspond to the band’s entire back catalogue, which is scrawled on a chalk board. Virtually half the gig is spent attempting to work out whether they can play what is selected, Gruff following almost every choice by exclaiming “Jesus!” or something stronger. It’s shambolically endearing, and when they do get it together, the results are serene.
The likes of ‘Down A Different River’, ‘Foxy Music’ and ‘Dacw Hi’, have rarely been, if ever, delivered live, and benefit
from the stripped-down approach. But a special cheer is reserved for old perennial ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuck’, reminding us all of what a powerful protest song it is when delivered in this intimate context.
On to the Forum for the main event then. Inside and you’re confronted by a bloke on stage warming up the crowd with some natty beatbox work. Behind him you see the mass of monitors, TV screens, speakers – this is gonna be [I]huge[/I]. When SFA eventually do come on, and launch straight into the bass-heavy instrumental ‘(A) Touch Sensitive’ (with, of course, the DVD playing behind them) the place
goes crazy-ape bonkers. It does your head in, gloriously.
Sign up for the newsletter
The set is split between highlights from the new album and a few
golden oldies. Perhaps ‘Furrymania”s defining moment is when the band whirl through ‘Do Or Die’, ‘Calimero’, ‘God! Show Me Magic!’, ‘Night Vision’ and ‘The Man…’ in what feels like five minutes. The moshpit goes mad, people are screaming – who thought up the name for this weekend again?
Other than the post-gig party, ‘Furrymania’ comes to an end with Arnold Schwarzenegger repeating “Best mind-fuck ever” on a loop. For once, he’s not exaggerating. Susceptible to the incredible? Damn right.