October 24, 2002
Supergrass : Nottingham Rock City
Next to them, the crown jewels are worthless...
You know you're at something special when even the touts outside appear to be having second thoughts about parting with tickets, but then this is Supergrass' first U.K gig in an age. Nottingham has been swamped in a Biblical downpour to mark the occasion. Outside, stray punters clad in mothballed-Britpop regalia are swept away in random floodtides; inside a steady drip of water leaks from large sections of the ceiling giving an entirely new meaning to watering down the drinks. Supergrass have weathered the storm. Having erred with their strangely-sleeved third album, they have clearly remembered what drove them in the first place.
Their set feels like a statement of intent. When they plough through 'Za'; 'Rush Hour Soul'; and 'Seen The Light' you're amazed. When it's followed by a titanic 'Brecon Beacons' a glorious 'Can't Get Up' and the Mickey-crooned 'Evening Of The Day' it looks like they're going to play the whole of 'Life On Other Planets' straight through and have done with it.
Instead, they troop off stage. A film of a tube train rumbling through Earls Court station appears on the screen behind them. Point made, they return wearing matching black t-shirts. The cartoon supergroup Steven Spielberg once dreamed of immortalising are back. Taste prevents them exhuming 'Alright' but we get 'Mansize Rooster'; 'Strange Ones' and a version of 'Pumping On Your Stereo' which, were it not already raining indoors, would make you think miracles could happen. By the time they get to 'Grace' and huge singalong encores of 'Moving' and 'Caught By The Fuzz' their perennial message - enjoy the good times whilst they last- makes you want to live here. Supergrass are a national treasure. Next to them, the crown jewels are worthless.
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