The Press Article
CAFE DE LA DANSE, PARIS
They've been trying to tell you Supergrass have grown up. Become mature. Have a mortgage policy on some gatefold, box-set anthology. Because that's what they want you to think, because they are old men in suits, and they are after Supergrass, like they were after Blur and the Manics. Well, hands off 'em, Mr Heart FM. After watching this gig we have irrefutable evidence to the contrary. So eat our checklist, old codgers. Supergrass: still young? Oh yes. Running free? And wild. Teeth clean? And not false. Seen the sights? Well, they are in Paris. Feelin' Alright? Oh, yes siree!!
From the moment halfway through "Moving" when Gaz kickstarts proceedings, there's an irrepressible, irresistible energy and enthusiasm to Supergrass, a momentum that rocks and rolls straight through the next half-dozen songs, "Man Sized Rooster", "Out Of The Blue", "Mary", "Alright", "Strange Ones" and "Richard III". Phew! Each song, old or new, powered out as if it's the first time they've ever been played. No sign of boredom, no complacency and no sluggishness.
Mick's backing vocals have become sublime, Gaz strangles more life out of his guitar than ever, Danny's Animal-meets-Keith-Moon drumming now incorporates impressive majorette-style twizzles and Rob Coombes' keyboards fill out songs like Bernard Manning fills trousers.
Their new album is assured, confident and experienced, of course (you can tell when a band think they've made their "coming of age" album by the agenda-setting, history-claiming title: "Blur", "Everything Must Go", "Be Here Now", "Supergrass"). People can add the word "subtle", to "stubble", when describing them now. And "Late In The Day" and "Far Away" are as delicate and tender as fresh croissants tonight.
Their maturity is like the local Camembert - it makes them taste better, gives them more bit. While still being as cheesy as you like. they grin, joke and enjoy themselves, throughout. "She's So Loose" requests a French girl loudly. "Who is?" replies Gaz straightfaced.
Is their mood such because this is their last European date before a British tour that the band are pretty excited about? Is it the influence of the unbridled shameless enthusiasm and joie de vivre of the French crowd? Or is it just that they simply have fun being onstage and belting through a set of scorching rock pop songs to the universal adoration of a sweaty crowd? Could be.
By the encore (do they say "encore" in France?) of "Pumping On Your Stereo" and "Caught By The Fuzz", Supergrass areas inspiringly teenage as ever. Featuring two of the most puerile sexual double-entendres in modern pop, it's as exhausting as it is exhilarating to watch. Ask the old, Clive Sinclair look-alike French gent who staggers away from near the stage with a hankie pressed to his bleeding nose halfway through "Pumping...", and I doubt he would waffle on about Supergrass' maturity.
Which is as it should be. Live, Supergrass are still young, free and sparkling. Which is all right.
Got that, old blokes?
Ben Knowles, Melody Maker - 09 October 1999