Supergrass - 53 Degrees Preston - 21.5.05

If there's one word to describe the weekend itinerary at 53 Degrees then it's got to be super. Tonight Supergrass are to make their debut in Preston (amazing considering the band are in their 11th year of their musical career and have probably played most venues in the UK) and tomorrow evening Super Furry Animals are playing. As Harry Hill would say "What are the chances of that happening?"

It's been relatively quiet for the Oxford band whose last album was the compilation "Supergrass Is 10 - The Best of 94-04" and the band freely admit that it's been a while since they last played live. Due out later in the year will be the new album which will no doubt be full of the bouncy feel good songs with an undercurrent of thinly veiled darkness.

Singer and underrated guitarist in my book, Gaz Combes has evolved from the simian look to quite a dashingly handsome young man. His beard makes him look rather like Ewan McGregor as Obi Won Kenobi in Revenge Of The Sith. Drummer Danny Goffey has slimmed down considerably. Unusually for quite a private man his alleged wife swapping escapades with partner Pearl Lowe infected the tabloids recently as the couple are close friends with Sadie Frost. Still he's his usual energetic chirpy self, a kind of modern Ringo Starr for the ipod generation.

You can imagine the reaction when they launch into "Caught By The Fuzz" with inebriated youngsters jumping around like over excited toddlers high on over indulgence of E numbered food at a children's party. Supergrass aren't the type of band to play obscure B-sides and long forgotten album tracks. They're a well experienced live band who know who to work a crowd and put on a good show. "Pumping On Your Stereo" revels in it's Rolling Stones raucous melody and who else but Supergrass could get away with the line "life is a cigarette". "Late In The Day" calms everyone down for a spell with it's hypnotic beauty. New song "Ste Petersburg" is a piano led ballad, not instantly one of their memorable songs, but it could well be a grower. The scuzzy almost heavy metal guitars of "Richard III" is their loudest and most volatile song to date, a tune which pleads to be played live at the highest volume imaginable. The Supergrass pop pouri continues at a fair old pace as these eternally youthful men return for the encore to play the T-Rex flavoured "Grace" which takes the pop rock from the 70s to dizzying new heights.

An eighty minute set performed with zest and an eagerness that's impossible not to be enraptured by, Supergrass will be welcomed with open arms next time they return to Preston. Just don't leave it another 11 years till that time comes round again.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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