The Press Article
Supergrass
University of East Anglia, Norwich - 27 May 2005


Supergrass are still coiffuring their trademark sideburns and despite a solid performance in Norwich, reviewer Simon Clough wonders if the band are in danger of getting trapped in a time warp.

I've seen Supergrass more times than I can shake a stick at, more by chance than design.

They are as constant as the sun, as prevalent as the wind. They are perhaps not as young and green and I dare say their once nice-and-clean teeth have acquired a few tobacco stains in the dozen or so years since they formed, but they still know how to bang out a good tune.

Even so, they were once the epitome of youthful exuberance, so their getting on a bit begs the question: Have Supergrass lost their meaning in todayís music world?

Stage entrance

To cheers, the three visible members of the band, Gaz, Danny and Mick appear along with Gaz's brother, the camera-shy Bob.

They pick up their instruments and open their account with a fast, full-blooded Lenny.

Immediately noticeable is bassist Mick Quinn's appearance: his head might as well be on backwards.

His long hair hides his pug face, causing me to wonder for a minute if thereís been a change in the line-up.

The band look to be, and sound, in fine fettle: lean and hungry after time away recording their fifth studio album in France.

Charismatic character

Front man Gaz Coombes, all sideburns and scallywag smiles, though looking older (his hair thinning a little) has lost nothing of his charm and charisma.

He is clearly enjoying himself as the band rip through Caught By The Fuzz, Pumping On Your Stereo and Richard III.

For my money, they're at their best live when playing their more raucous material. Songs like Late In The Day and Hollow Little Reign, not really in keeping with the buoyant mood, fall a tad flat on the night.

Danny Goffey, for some the star of the band, is focused on the job in hand throughout - his playing a lesson in how to get a sophisticated sound from what is a fairly basic kit.

They perform Brecon Beacons (from their last LP), a song called St Petersburg (from their next) and Mary from their X-Ray album.

The latter proves what an integral part keyboardist Bob Coombes plays in the band, despite his ostensible non-participation.

Indeed their signature tune, Alright, is propelled by one of his piano riffs, which is remarkable for a guitar band.

Happy fans

The crowd displays high spirits, and only calm down occasionally for wistful moments like the long lead-in to Moving, though they soon become boisterous again when the band raises the tempo for the chorus.

Back to my question then of Supergrassí relevance in todayís scene. Well, there was a time a band called Status Quo were bold, brash and brimming with the youthful confidence.

Time warp trap

If they're not careful, Supergrass might well become caricatures of themselves too.

They're already looking slightly Quo-esque (turns out Mick Quinn's new look is actually Rick Parfitt's old look) and itís their refusal to progress that will spell their downfall.

Supergrass are not so much pushing the envelope as climbing inside, sealing and posting it to their selves of five years ago.

The main set ends with Sun Hits The Sky, a soaring climax to a solid performance. The encore is a two-song send-off: Grace and Strange Ones.

The latter was a timely reminder of how fresh they sounded when they erupted on to the musical map with their debut, I Should Coco.

This evening, Supergrass demonstrate they have enough life left in them to keep self-parody at bay, but boy, it's close.

Simon Clough, BBC Norfolk - 08 June 2005