Where: Glasgow Barrowlands
When: Friday 21 February 2020
Supergrass burst on to the music scene in 1994 with the incendiary Caught by the Fuzz, a song about being lifted at “only fifteeen” for possession of cannabis. A couple of singles later and Alright catapulted the band into the musical mainstream and placed them firmly within the pantheon of Britpop royalty.
The Oxford combo never sat well with that label. Their music recalled many well-known touchpoints, which were common across the genre, such as Bowie, The Kinks, The Who, The Floyd, but they were never a band to follow traditional song-writing structures. They continually mixed things up, changing tempo, shifting chord structures and playing around with arrangements and vocals. They were never meat and potatoes ‘’Dadrock’’.
And so six albums and a 10-year split later, they are back on their reunion tour, playing venues the length and breadth of the UK, including two nights at London’s Ally Pally, but not before two nights in the Glasgow music heaven that is the Barrowland Ballroom.
The band take to the stage promptly at 9 o’clock and launch into In it for the Money, a comment perhaps on their motivation for this tour?
The old spring dancefloor is bouncing straight away as nigh on 2000 punters jump for joy at seeing and hearing old friends. From then on it’s hit after hit, interspersed with popular album tracks and the odd rarity. They sound immense. The band is tight as tight can be, as the foursome (including singer Gaz’s brother on keys) power through the nearly two-hour set.
Highlight of the night for me was the always-brilliant Richard III. The growling that Gaz wrings from the neck of his guitar for this one sounds superb, add in Danny’s monstrous drums and Micky’s thundering bass lines. Just brilliant. They dispatch Alright towards the end of their set with a, “Well, that’s that one out the way,” from Gaz, before following up with the poptastic Sun Hits the Sky and riff-heavy Lenny. What a combo to close their set.
And off they go, but not before a well-deserved encore. The afore-mentioned Caught by the Fuzz kicks off the finale, then the band slide straight into a left-right combo of Strange Ones and Pumping on Your Stereo. The band leave the stage and the crowd disperse on to the Gallowgate having, for one night at least, recaptured their youth.
In it for the Money
I’d Like to Know
Diamond Hoo Ha Man
Seen the Light
Late in the Day
Rebel in You
Intermission : Coffee in the Pot
She’s So Loose
Sun Hits the Sky
Caught by the Fuzz
Pumping on your Stereo
Andrew RaffertyWatch Kevin McKenna with A Celtic State of Mind