Supergrass : London SE1 Royal Festival Hall

Good times behind them, good times ahead

You know where you are with Supergrass. 1995 as a rule – even if tonight’s set is a chance to display some fine new material. Still looking like they might have trouble applying for an HGV licence, the endlessly youthful Danny, Gaz and Mickey are greeted like champion gladiators by an audience who apparently spent their entire adolescence smoking a fag and putting it out in Supergrass-approved style.

The nostalgic bonhomie only needs Michael Aspel and his red book to crank the sentiment up to dangerous levels but Supergrass quickly remind everyone that they’re a living, breathing band and not a half-remembered encounter at the college disco. Their worst problem was always the contrast between their best songs – fierce, funny, jumping like popcorn in a pan – and their bizarre moth-to-flame fondness for hirsute rock “authenticity”. Yet new song ‘Grace’ – with a cryptic chorus of “save the money for the children” – is as buoyant and breezy as a balloon race, while ‘Rush Hour Soul’ shamelessly and impressively heads for the ancient ancestral burial grounds of the rave-up and the freak-out. ‘Moving’, ‘Pumping On The Stereo’, ‘Lose It’, and a wildly inappropriate skip through ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ (grown men forced into short trousers spring unwelcomely to mind) just confirm how much fun Supergrass can be.

Good times behind them, good times ahead. It’s hard to imagine it any other way.

Victoria Segal