The Reader Review
The Melkweg, Amsterdam - 16 August 1999
When we arrived at the club (an old dairy factory, thus the name "Melkweg" or "Milkyway"), I immediately spotted cables running to the mobile recording studio parked beside the building. This meant the gig got recorded, but by who?
Inside the venue, we settled on the rightside balcony, where we had a marvelous view of the stage and beyond! From there we spotted several microphones pointing to the audience-side, so we were assured the studio was there for Supergrass. My girlfriend Kim spotted two camera's on each side of the light controls, which were situated at the balcony in the back of the hall. So the show got video-taped as well?? What for? A video-clip? A Live Video?? An evaluation tape???
The support-act was Dutch band 'Paddington', who played what was best described as a mixture of Grunge and Blondie punkpop apart from their new single, which sounded entirely different! Despite being talented, they started to bore after 3 songs and they played for far too long. The only funny things were a keyboard-player rattling his tambourine far beyond the reach of the microphone and a girl singing backing vocals which couldn't be heard.
After the stage had been prepared for Supergrass, I spotted Danny looking through a door just behind the stage, the lights dimmed and the band blasted off in a raunching version of 'Lenny', followed by 'Strange Ones' and 'Mansize Rooster', with the usual slower parts on the CD's not present! In the meantime, two cameramen swirled around the stage, like starved bees circling around a jug of honey.
"These three songs came from our first album," said Gaz and then they played new song 'Mary', which started with a solid, Motownish ballad, but became powerful and poppy once underway. Then 'Alright' came, followed by 'Out Of The Blue', which had some similarities in sound. Great!
New single 'Moving' was next and showed a poppy new sound, which I must get used to. Then on to 'Lose It', where technical problems struck! Gaz' guitarplug jumped from his effects rack, so it stopped making sounds. While a roadie replugged the guitar, the soundman put some echo over Gaz' voice, after which the gig continued like nothing had happened with 'Late In The Day'.
A great version of 'Pumping On Your Stereo' was followed by the easy-going 'Faraway'. This is some kind of ballad with fierce guitar lines in it. Brilliant! 'Sun Hits The Sky' was flowing into 'Going Out', which was incredibly good.
After a few minutes of darkness, noises and calls from the audience, the band returned for the encore, which started with 'It's Not Me'. Then Gaz asked if the audience wanted to hear some heavier stuff, which launched the final song: A rocking version of 'Caught By The Fuzz'. Then Gaz dropped his guitar and the show was over!
What I liked so much, was seeing the band not changing over the years. Their stage-act is still the same as it was in 1995: Simple, no complicated stage-shit like lightshows, backgrounds, stage-acting or extravagant clothing to mask their sweating (Rob was soaked after 'It's Not Me'), but almost shy and in touch with the audience (which danced to all the known songs, really listened to the new ones and pogoed during 'Caught'). A much nicer kind of show than others I've seen.
Their sound is now more poppy, but this doesn't mean lesser than it used to be. Still Supergrass, but evolved. I can't wait to hear their new album!
Leo Hoek van Dijke - 20 August 1999