The Press Article
Coogee Bay, Sydney, Australia
13 September 2004

It's drunk o'clock on Saturday night, we're in the heart of Pommyville and one of England's most beloved guitar bands have graciously chosen this neck of the woods to host the Sydney leg of their 10th birthday celebrations.

There's no "proper" new album to wade through before an all-too-short encore of the Hits. The mighty Oxford quartet that is Supergrass have recently squeezed their superior career highlights onto the exceptional Supergrass Is 10 retrospective and it's to those rock-pop classics that we've come to pogo, sing along and cheer.

The band duly oblige, opening the set with some of their biggest riffs (and, in the case of Lose It, a couple of the Stooges's) as the pounding Lenny makes way for a rampaging, electrifying Richard III.

Surprisingly, the playing is often not as tight as some of the other big-name acts in town this week (Blink-182, Muse), but there's a looseness and a warmth to the Supergrass performance that other bands, however impressive, fail to match. As if to prove this, only half a dozen or so songs in, the band leaves the stage, a comfy-looking sofa is carried on, and singer Gaz Coombes and bassist Mick Quinn return with acoustic guitars.

You could have predicted the appearance of the gorgeous Late in the Day (and accompanying mass singalong) during this mini-acoustic detour, but a glorious take on the band's debut single, Caught by the Fuzz, is welcome and surprises. A tale of teenage misadventure originally driven by adrenalised electric guitars, it is given a fondly nostalgic reading soaked in the wisdom and experience gained from the 10 years since its release. It proves a poignant and unsurpassable highlight.

Not that Supergrass are going to give up there. There are so many more anthems to come that the absence of their biggest hit, Alright, and a personal favourite, Going Out, is barely noticed.

Coombes snarls along with the good-time strut of Pumping on Your Stereo with a relish reciprocated by the bouncing crowd; Mansize Rooster still careens with youthful exuberance; and, befitting a band with "super" in its name, Sun Hits the Sky sounds nothing less than heroic.

A crunchy encore cover of Neil Young's The Loner rocks earnestly enough, but proves superfluous.

If there's one thing Supergrass know their way around, it's a tune. And if they come up with half as many in the next 10 years that are as utterly joyous as this night's selection, you should count your blessings.

George Palathingal, - 13 September 2004