Last month, Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes confessed in Word magazine that he frequently wonders why his band are not playing the arena circuit. On this showing, you can understand why. It is a performance that oozes rock-star swagger, one part intensity to two parts absurdity. Coombes has more than a touch of Mick Jagger about him, as he prances about in a crimson hat and drawls his vowels when he chats to the audience. To his left, bassist Mick Quinn exudes nonchalance; you would never believe he broke his back last year falling off a balcony. Behind him, drummer Danny Goffey plays every song as though attempting to break a speed record. Factor in the muffled acoustic, which makes the Roundhouse seem much bigger and more impersonal than it actually is, and it is clear Supergrass could light up concrete hangars.
It helps that, after 15 years together, they have accumulated a set of irrepressibly enjoyable pop songs. They open with the latest, Diamond Hoo Ha Man, a cartoon-glam stomp whose ludicrous refrain of "Got to get you in my suitcase" is made sillier and more entertaining by the word "suitcase" flashing up behind them in white lights. It is the track that does most to invigorate a crowd that otherwise shows little appreciation either for new material or the more muted, subtle elements of Supergrass's back catalogue. Ghost of a Friend, a heartfelt new song with an unexpectedly Dylanish lead vocal from Goffey, gets a respectful response, as does the achingly lovely St Petersburg, from their 2005 album Road to Rouen. But this is an audience far more keen to chuck glasses of beer in the air to the hammered chorus of Moving, and gesticulate wildly to Caught By the Fuzz. True showmen, Supergrass save such anthems for last: you can't but leave on a high.
Maddy Costa, The Guardian - 17 March 2008