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SFA at the Ritz
By Robin Chowder
Thought I’d start with a trip down memory lane…a decade of two ago, pre-mobile phones, false tits, the internet, panic rooms etc I was having a bit of jiggy jiggy with a stunning temp (Lady A) who worked in the office – she was fairly thick, really good-looking and had the body of a racing snake. Anyway, her so-called boyfriend at the time wasn’t delivering the goods, so I felt it was my duty to help.
We ended up at the Ritz in Manchester on one of our works-do’s – a real scruffy, tacky shithole of a place and Lady A turns up with her mate (Lady B) – fairly thick, good looking, loose perm and a rack and a half to boot.
To cut a short story long, we all get loaded on K-Cider, Blastaways and Hooch to give you an idea of the era and the three of us head back to Lady B’s gaff. Lady B goes off to freshen up or something and I manage to get fresh meself with Lady A in between her checking outside every 20 minutes to see whether the boyfriend had put 2 and 2 together and drove over for a row in the cul de sac. Eventually, at around four-ish, Lady A calls a cab anyway and disappears into the night…
“Time for bed” said Zebedee ? “Hang on a minute” says Dylan as Lady B walks in the lounge having ‘freshened up’ dressed in her dressing gown and what can only be described as a ‘negligee’….she had a full packet of Embassy Regal, stuck a Kenny G CD on and says “do you fancy a cup of tea or shall I get the Baileys out ?”. I was ace, she was acer.
Anyway, the morning after, I remembered I had to be somewhere so Lady B offered to give me a lift home in her Vitara. We stop off for some bacon then get back to mine and she makes the breakfast as I go to freshen up (shit, shower, shave and quick stress-buster). Then a few of the lads turn up at mine cos we were out on an all-dayer at Haydock races. Lady B then drops us off at the pub and we wait for the minibus…can’t remember whether I had any winners at the races, I might have done, but I didn’t give a f*ck.
The next time I’m at the Ritz, it’s to see the Super Furry Animals (SFA) – one of the best bands around I reckon. Stood outside waiting for my brother, I see Gruff sneak out of the SFA tourbus with his big bobble hat on – I let on “Gruff !” and give him a Port Merion salute, which I’d like to think he appreciated.
Back inside the Ritz, it hadn’t changed much since last time except the carpet was a bit stickier as in you couldn’t stand still for more than 30 seconds without taking root.
I liked the support band – didn’t clock their name but they came on like a Welsh Velvet Underground – cool and quirky with a modern Welsh Nico equivalent.
Then it’s time for the atmosphere to build as the appropriately weird pre-gig soundtrack kicks in – there’s a Tomorrow Never Knows (TNK) cover mixing into some slow dub then slow acid trance and the Super Furries hit the stage.
The setlist was:
Do or Die
Rings Around the World
If you don’t want me to destroy you
The Very Best of Neil Diamond
White Socks/Flip Flops
Juxtaposed wit’ You
Crazy naked Girls
Man Don’t Give a F*ck
Keep the Cosmic Trigger Happy
Zoom is brilliant intense start to the concert followed by three poppy singles to get the joint jumping…Mt is a cool tune sung by Cian, Demons is awesome – free goosebumps with that one, Inaugural Trams stunning – a Kraftwerk-tribute celebrating low-emission transport systems – when Kraftwerk make a career out of this stuff, it’s Germanic and serious, but with SFA doing it, it’s cool and funny…especially with the placards Gruff holds during the tune to advertise the “75%” emission reduction, “Applause” and “Danke” at the end
Couple more then there’s a Lazer battle which is way better than Blackpool illuminations.
Juxtaposed wit’ You sees Gruff working the vocoder – apparently Vodafone offered a few mil to use this tune for one of their campaigns – SFA said “No thanks”. Did you hear that Iggy ?
Hello Sunshine follows – delivered in humorous style again, with funny awkward silences interspersed – rumour also has it that Coca-Cola offered a few mil to use this too – SFA said “No thanks” – no offence, but what do you make of that John ‘Johnny Rotten’ Lydon ?
The Man Don’t Give a F*ck was a lot shorter compared to previous versions of this I’d seen or heard, there’s no Bill Bryson sample at the beginning and no 20 minute trance workout, so the bouncing singalong plus the sprung dancefloor of the Ritz makes it all the more raucous with even a bit of fisticuffs breaking out.
Keep the Cosmic Trigger Happy brings things to a close with awesome duelling lead guitars with Gruff and Bunf rocking it like Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson then at the end they’re joined by Guto and raise their axes in unison and we have “Applause”, “Outstanding”, “No Contrived Encore” and “The End” placards to close the show.
SFA played a brilliant mix of songs and styles and are at the top of their game live.
As part of Liverpool Music Week, SFA play Nation on Friday 5th November – I’m not going, it couldn’t be as good.
I did go to Cream ages back though; with a chesty older bird (COB) from work…I’m told they’re called MILFs now…