Super Furry Animals
The Olympia, Dublin,
Tuesday 7th September 1999.
You know when you run out of superlatives to describe a band? You know when everything a band does appears to be the future of music, and knowingly so? When words like brilliant, breath-taking, irreverent, bewildering, refreshing, hedonistic, delicate or thumping all enter your mind and yet none seem to capture what the band is about? When you're unable to pigeonhole a band into any specific genre without doing them a grave injustice? When you see friends committed to single musical styles falling in love with them? Yes? Ah, you've heard the Super Furries, then.
Tonight's Olympia gig is nothing short of a revelation. Having seen previous shows where the Furries' ambition had been scuppered by various external factors, tonight they get down to basics and do what they do best: entertain through their densely layered yet insanely catchy tunes.
Before they take the stage, the full version of New Order's 'Blue Monday' blares from the speakers spliced with a sample of the Furries' 'Wherever I lay my phone'. Just as New Order broke ground towards defining an entire era of music, SFA appear to be setting out a similar stall.
"Guerilla", their most recent album, has been hailed by many as a defining moment in '90s music. A fusion of all that is quality in music today and with influences ranging from The Jam to Roni Size, it could so easily have been a mish-mash, a disjointed mess of noise and mayhem. Yet it is a seamless piece of work, due to the fact that despite all the distortion and all the electronic influences, one thing rules in SFA world: tunes.
A raucous version of 'Wherever...' opens proceedings and the crowd goes mental. Now I know you've all seen crowds go mental before, but this time I actually do mean FUCKING MENTAL. Standing still is not an option. By the time 'Teacher' begins, it is becoming difficult to find your own hands, let alone your friends.
Thankfully, and unlike previous occasions, SFA treat us to a broad mix from all four albums, with "Guerilla" obviously receiving most attention. 'The Turning Tide', 'Northern Lights', and 'Do or Die' are all received adoringly, while 'Chewing Gum', played live tonight for the first time, is stolen from the drummer as the crowd decides to sing every word themselves, much to the bemusement of the band.
Culminating in an anarchic romp through 'The Man Don't Give a Fuck', the gig ends in sonic techno overload with an exhausted crowd dancing like gibbons until it finally fades out. On the cover of "Guerilla" you will find the words "non-violent direct action".
by Patrick Horan.