buttonSuper Furry Animals @ Liquidroom Ebisu (9th Nov '07)

Fuzzy Logic of The Super Furry Animals

Super Furry Animals
      The last time I saw Super Furry Animals they were closing out the White Stage on the Saturday night of Fuji Rock Festival 2006, the refrain from "The Man Don't Give a Fuck" reverberating off of the green ski hills of Naeba. An endless swirl of translated kanji lyrics, trippy music loops and the face of George Dubbya on the Jumbotron and scrim around the stage - a show that cemented SFA in this writer's mind as one of the most underrated live bands out there today.

Super Furry Animals      I walked into the LiquidRoom in Ebisu on Friday night eager to see what the Super Furry Animals had in store for us. Since their last stop in Japan, they have left their major label Epic to sign with Rough Trade Records, and have released numerous side and solo projects. This was the first night of a sold-out two-night stand in Tokyo, and my expectations were high about seeing them perform some of the new, "speaker blowing" (according to front man Gruff Rhys), back-to-basics (meaning: back to late their 90s era, poppy Fuzzy Logic sound, according to journalists) material from their latest album Hey Venus! (I also wondered if Keiichi Tanaami, the popular Japanese artist who designed the cover for Hey Venus! would be in attendance, and if I might be able to pick him out of the crowd, you know, being an out there "pop artist" and all).

      The venue was comfortably packed out a few hundred people (a number that would rapidly increase as it drew nearer to curtain time), so I headed over to the far side of the club − past the back centre seats and drink ledges and concert T's and Converse All-Stars and one helluva single file line-up for drinks − in order to get a good view of both the stage and the audience (half the fun of an SFA show). It was a good thing I stopped at the conbini on the way in − 300 yen tinnies of beer are like manna from heaven when the drink lineup is long and the bar staff slow and there is no room to move.

Super Furry Animals
      The show started out with a typical bit of SFA humor: the band opened with something along the lines of "This Is a Famous Song", a true ditty, about one minute long, before saying hello to the crowd and heading off into Furry Animal territory with "She's Got Spies" from 1997's Radiator.

Super Furry Animals      The audience was already in a good groove by the only third song of the evening, when the band broke into "Golden Retriever", a song "about [our] favorite dog" and one the audience had been eagerly awaiting. Immediately, hands went into the air and fists pumped. The crowd bounced up and down, venting some pent up energy, as if they were waiting for something to let them blow up. By the fifth or sixth song, guitar player Huw Bunford had played a different axe for each song. In his scruffy long beard and loose fitting jacket, he earnestly drove through each number, one of the main pilots on this tour.

      They did a rendition of "Northern Lites" Teenage Fanclub-style (meaning slow harmonious three-chord rock Big Star-style) after informing us that Scotland's TFC is one of their favorite bands. They seemed to be playing short and sweet versions of their songs (or maybe I was just used to their longer live sets) because they seemed to zoom through a few more tunes before reaching "Zoom!" and then pausing to chat.

Super Furry Animals      As usual, Rhys and company kept the patter between songs minimal and quirky. Whatever they said was low key, non-sequitur, self-deprecating and funny. They also decided a little bit of audience participation was needed. Describing the next song as "written three weeks ago", they asked people to help them out. They had everybody put their hands above their heads - like rabbit ears - played a somber C-minor chord and had everybody moan "Eaaaaaaaaaaaaaarth". That was it. Everybody did it. Everybody laughed − and it would happen about three other times during the evening when they needed a little break.

      Then they plowed through a couple of songs from their new album, Hey Venus! . First was the catchy, jangly pop of what they called their secular Christmas single, "The Gift That Keeps on Giving", and "Show Your Hand", a new song about gambling (Gruff Rhys apparently feeling the need to explain all this). Between these two new numbers they gave the fans a little more of what they had come for with a short, punchy version of "Juxtaposed With U".

      Then it was intermission football style. Rhys told the crowd that they were going to take five minutes to go back stage, listen to their coach, be told what they did right and what they did wrong, how they could improve in the second half, perhaps make some substitutions, and then come back ready to score a goal and steal the game. And with that, the cue cards came out:

Super Furry Animals5 minutes -- half time ---

When they returned - and it was indeed very close to just five minutes - they went straight into crowd favorites. Singer Rhys donned a Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers helmet and prowled the stage as he sang "Slow Life", much to the crowd's appreciation.

      One of the reasons this writer likes the Super Furry Animals so much is that they don't take themselves too seriously, but they still manage to write and perform seriously engaging pop songs. This was never more evident as they closed out their show. Their last few songs were like a "How To" lesson in eclectic, indie power pop writing featuring an array of their best (and most popular) songs. Hooky, compelling, and at times political, the songs rolled out of their gig bags. From the ethereal "If You Don't Want Me to Destroy You", through "Hello Sunshine" and the usual show closer "The Man Don't Give a Fuck", to the final song, "Keep the Cosmic Trigger Happy"; the Furries proved why they are still one of the better touring bands out there.

      The Tokyo crowd came out to Ebisu to enjoy an intimate and captivating time with the Furries - and that's just what they got. If it wasn't sold out, I would have gladly gone again the next night. Hopefully, we only have to wait until next summer's Fuji Rock Festival to see them again.
Super Furry Animals

report by jeff and photos by izumikuma
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buttonmag files : Super Furry Animals

buttonphoto report (07/11/10 @ Liquidroom Ebisu) : photos by izumikuma
buttonFuzzy Logic of The Super Furry Animals (07/11/09 @ Liquidroom Ebisu) : review by jeff, photos by izumikuma
buttonphoto report (07/11/09 @ Liquidroom Ebisu) : photos by izumikuma
button裸の毛もじゃ動物 (07/08/31 @ Inveraray Castle, Argyll, Scotland) : review by kuniko
buttonphoto report (05/10/20 @ Shinsaibashi Club Quattro) : photos by yegg
buttonphoto report (05/10/19 @ Liquidroom Ebisu) : photos by izumikuma
buttonphoto report (05/10/18 @ Liquidroom Ebisu) : photos by izumikuma
button違和感こそが、真実のゴールデン・ハンマー!! (03/11/20 @ Osaka Big Cat) : report by kami, photo by izumikuma
button珍獣、超多毛動物、大阪に現る (03/11/20 @ Osaka Big Cat) : report by kuniko, photo by izumikuma
button長毛のたハむれ(アホー) (03/11/18 @ Shinjuku Liquid Room) : revire by mimi, photo by izumikuma
buttonphoto report (03/11/17 @ Shinjuku Liquid Room) : photo by izumikuma
button癒され、心が真っ白になる感覚 (01/10/16 @ Osaka Big Cat) : review by shoko, photo by ikesan
buttonSFAの寓話的世界にようこそ... (01/10/9 @ Shibuya AX) : review by nob, photo by mari
buttonひねくれ者の極上ポップ (01/10/16 @ Osaka Big Cat) : review by ikuyo, photo by iikesan
buttonSuper Furry Animals日記 (98/4/14-20 @ Shibuya AX) : review and photo no credit

The official site

Super Furry Animals


check 'em? --> MySpace / iTunes

The latest album

super furry animals

"Hey Venus! "
(UK import / US import / / UK import - 12' / iTunes)
Previous works

"Run Away[single]"(UK import / UK import - 7')
"Love Kraft"(国内盤 / UK import / US import)
"Lazer Beam [Single] " (UK import)
"Under the Influence: Super Furry Animals [Compilation] " (US import)
"Songbook: The Singles 1" (国内盤 /US import / UK import)
"mwng" (国内盤 /US import)
"Phantom Power" (国内盤 /US import)
"Rings Around the World" (国内盤 /US import)
"Radiator" (国内盤 /US import)
"Guerilla" (国内盤 /US import / UK import)
"Outspaced" (US import / UK import)
"Fuzzy Logic" (US import / UK import)

check the albums?

jeff's works

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