The Press Article
Supergrass - Leeds Town And Country Club
Supergrass made a frenzied return to live performance last week with shows in Leeds, Glasgow, London, for MTV's Five Night Stand, and plans for a secret gig at Dublin's Trinity College Ball. Well before the band took the stage at Leeds Town & Country, the mid-sized venue was jam-packed with punters limbering up their knees in preparation for an hour of solid bouncing and moshing.
As soon as Supergrass arrived, the bouncing kicked off, the screaming started and the clapping began, sweeping away cynics' fears of a Supergrass-by-number disappointment.
Despite a complete lack of onstage banter (bar singer and Man United fan Gaz Coombes' delighted "1-0", in celebration of Leeds' narrow defeat of Arsenal), the show's atmosphere was one of tacitly understood camaraderie between band and fans, an atmosphere which allowed Supergrass to debut several new tracks from their forthcoming, third album (due for release in September), in a set bulging with hits.
Hence, as well as "Richard III", "I'd Like To Know", "Late In The Day"' "Mansize Rooster", "Alright", "Sun Hits The Sky", "Going Out", "Strange Ones", "Lenny", "It's Not Me" and "Caught By The Fuzz", the crowd were treated to airings of "Mary", "Out Of The Blue", "Moving", "Jesus Came From Outer Space" and Supergrass' new single, "Pumping On Your Stereo" (a song with which the band must still be so unfamiliar as to enter it as "Pumping On The Stereo" on their own setlist!).
"Mary" (greeted with enough leaping and clapping-along from the audience to unsettle pints perched upon the back-of-the-room bar) showed itself to be a strangely dark, electric piano-led number, with shared vocals from Gaz and bassist Micky Quinn, in turns eerie and funky. "Out Of The Blue", a more conventionally upbeat Supergrass track complete with "Alright"-style honky-tonk piano, retained that sense of departure, with countless bizarre twists and turns peppering its otherwise superpop sound.
"Moving" (Currently scheduled to be Supergrass' next single set for release in August) dazzled the crowd with its surprisingly emotional tone, Gaz wailing a heartrending tune over a rapidly strummed, semi-acoustic guitar, before the rest of the band piled in with quite possibly the biggest rock chorus of the year.
Pursuing this mature, yet by no means tedious, direction, "Jesus Came From Outer Space" married a thoroughly grown-up, sophisticated tune with a deliciously Supergrass sense of juvenile delinquency, all furtive jangling from Gaz and feverish drumming from Danny Goffey, possibly desperate to get the show over with in time to race back to London for the imminent birth of his second child.
"Pumping On Your Stereo", meanwhile, provided an obvious and inevitable high, three minutes of ridiculously upbeat, glam dementia and a welcome taste of the summer to come. Perhaps most importantly, though, its reception more than matched the hysteria afforded to established tracks like the viciously charged "Richard III", the defiantly cocksure "Going Out" and the punky thrills of classics from Supergrass' first album "I Should Coco" - tracks like the ferociously young "Lenny" and the gloriously yo-yoing "Mansize Rooster".
Having thrown "Alright" away mid-set, it was up to the hilariously panic-stricken blur of "Caught By The Fuzz" to close the encore, before the band instantly fled the stage without a word, possibly convinced that the sprinting euphorics of that song would say goodbye far better than anything that night come out of their grinning mouths.
After the show, the general consensus among the fans was that Supergrass' return had effortlessly trumped their previous live shows, adding a dose of maturity to their fresh-faced pop... albeit the dumbest, funniest, youngest kind of maturity that Leeds' aching-kneed masses had come across in their lives.
PUPPETS ON YOUR VIDEO!!!
Supergrass have completed a spectacularly inventive video to accompany the release of "Pumping On Your Stereo" on Parlophone on May 24.
The clip finds the band transformed into 15-feet-tall puppets. Their real-life faces smile and nod atop bendy, scraggy, vividly colourful bodies, as they play specially made, stylised instruments.
Opening with a shot of the band's disembodied heads, the video goes on to explore cartoonish themes, with arms detaching themselves to fly around the stage and cause havoc. The video ends with pyrotechnic explosions and the decapitation of Danny Goffey.
The promo, already being tipped for a "Best Video" Brit award next year, was produced by Hammer & Tongs (producer Nick Goldsmith and director Garth Jennings), in conjunction with Jim Henson's Creature Shop, famous for its Muppet creations.
The video was shot in a west London studio last month. It involved a "huge team" of puppeteers, including the band members, all dressed in black against a black background. They operated the puppets by manipulating black rods attached to the hands, arms and leg joints.
Meanwhile, there is a limited-edition, coloured-vinyl seven-inch version of the single released a week after the regular formats. All formats feature new bonus tracks which will not appear on the forthcoming album.
Melody Maker - 22 May 1999