For those folks wise and lucky enough to snap up tickets to three very small venue shows for one of the best live bands in the world knew they were well in for a treat. Supergrass was in the middle of a short week of similar such shows to champion their new album, Life On Other Planets. While itís been out everywhere else for a while, itís just now making its Stateside debut. Our limey friends would be frothing for an opportunity to see them in this setting but luckily it was we LA types that were so blessed.
That hype said, the band delivered the goods (as usual) and carried the flag for good olí rock & roll on the pop end. Little over a third of the set came from the new album and as always the case with this band, the live setting upped the ante on what they do in the studio. Opening the show with four tracks from LOOP had the die-hards nodding politely while most seemed to still be digesting the album, a few months away from becoming the usual rabid fanbase. The band themselves were self-assured but just warming up. The pacing of the show slowly continued to gain speed as they trotted through songs from their previous three albums. Singer/guitarist Gaz Coombes carries himself like the ale swilling, self-depreciating rock star bloke he appears to be. He lurches around the small stage, striking just the right guitar god poses (paired with superior playing), all the while grinning from ear to ear. As a lead singer, his style and punch are infectious. Coombesí voice was clear as a bell as he strummed & sang alone the bright opening chords of "Late In The Day" from their mighty second album In It For The Money.
Little over half way through the show is when ?pergras (as their T-shirt states) kicked it into high gear. The shifting point was what is (or at least should be) the first single on the new album, "Grace." As a unit, they play with the ferocity to overpower and the hooks to reel you in and make you bounce. Drummer Danny Goffey is one of those colorful twigish players whose arms flail at a furious rolling pace all the while keeping the rock right on time. Bassist Mick Quinnís harmonies add yet another distinctive element to their sound. Gazís brother Rob's keyboards and B3 sound conjure the classic tones with a heavy bottom base in the here and now. This band is clearly used to larger venues and their precision goes that much more appreciated in such a small joint. The encore, for me, was one of the best I could have hoped for. The bright and joyous "Moving," a blistering cover of "The Loner," where Coombesí leads would do Neil Young proud, and the obligatory "Caught By The Fuzz" brought the show to an exhaustive close.
One would hope their new Yankee label will do them some justice, but I fear the worst. Regardless, theyíll be back on tour next month. If youíve never seen them, do yourself a favor and spend about $15 on a band that will literally please you to no end. Thom Yorke was seen milling about as was the drummer from the Foo Fighters. Ya gotta figure they were left just as happy and impressed as the smiling crowd walking out of the place.
Palo Alto opened. They werenít bad I suppose, above average. They strive to be the quality that having a Radiohead song title as a name would hope to be. They merit a second listen at some point in the near future.
"Rush Hour Soul"
"Seen The Light"
"Late In The Day"
"Pumping On Your Stereo"
"Never Done Nothing"
"Sun Hits The Sky"
---- encore ----
"Caught By The Fuzz"
Source: Matt Surrena, Guest Reviewer