Gruff Rhys @ Jensen Rec Center, 10/3/07
Diehard fans anxiously waiting for another Super Furry Animals tour would have been pleasantly satisfied by catching the frontman’s solo show. Where the first album seemed more as experimentation and release away from SFA’s work, Gruff Rhys latest album sounds more akin with the group’s current sonic sensibilities. Title song “Candylion” and “Cycle of Violence” both have that familiar SFA melody and album closer “Skylon!” walks a similar epic landscape of songs like “Slow Life” and “Mountain People.” Granted, Gruff’s latest solo performances are as far as you can get to resembling the stage show of the Furries. On this tour Rhys, along with the aid of fellow Welsh artist, Lisa Jen, play an assortment of conventional and toy instruments, latter being the sort that most of us have long ago discarded, all while seated behind a tartan-clad table. But like SFA’s shows, irreverence and humor is used to convey both the music’s innocent and political themes. At one point in the show, Gruff displayed a banner found at a thrift store with the sewn-in words “Very Best of Neil Diamond” and ponders its origins as well as the creator’s motives. The duo also performed songs wearing matching airplane life jackets. Gruff also explained the detailed workings of his new invention, a stick-on piece of cardboard that converts guitars to fit lefties. It’s simple illusions like this that makes Gruff’s music so show-me-magical. Openers Her Space Holiday joined Gruff and Lisa on stage for the night’s final song.