Next month sees the highly anticipated live return of Super Furry Animals and all 3 wizards have got their tickets booked for the Manchester Albert Hall gig on 6th May.
I first saw the band on a sweaty day at the Essential Festival in Brighton in 1996 and I’ve seen them many times since and they have never ever disappointed. See bottom of post for list.
So, what to play in May.. What do you want to hear? Tweet your suggestions below for consideration! #SFArequests
— super furry animals (@superfurry) March 27, 2015
Or make a Spotify playlist of your ultimate setlist and tweet us the link. Best 3 win Mwng Deluxe CD version. #SFArequests
— super furry animals (@superfurry) March 27, 2015
Those tweets last week were all the encouragement I needed to have a go at writing my “fantasy setlist”. It contains an optimistic quantity of songs (38) and clocks in at a marathon 2.5 hours. I think it’s fucking ace and shows just what a fantastic back catalogue they’ve built up. If you’re looking for the most consistent band of the last 20 years then I reckon Super Furry Animals just pip Eels to that title. Highly recommended listening whether you are a newcomer to the band or a long-time fan.
Chorizo’s Fantasy Setlist in detail
Gathering Moss: A bit of a singalong to get us under way. This track from the debut album was the first SFA song that really made me sit up, pay attention and realise that this band had something a bit extra to make them stand out from the crowd.
Ysbeidiau Heulog / The International Language of Screaming / Night Vision: 3 lively ones to get things really moving including my favourite track from the forthcoming re-release “Mwng”
Slow Life: It’s songs like this one that inspired a theory I came up with years ago: that the last song is the best song on most Super Furries LPs. When that theory is examined closely it turns out to be inaccurate. This is one of their “starts off fairly normally, but then Cian goes crazy with his knobs and gizmos” songs that are always amazing live. This one was played as the opening song at one of the Manchester Academy gigs I’ve been to.
Suckers / Hello Sunshine / Atomik Lust: Bit of an acoustic-led section here. The popular opener from the “Phantom Power” LP sandwiched between 2 under-appreciated songs from more recent LPs. Atomik Lust is definitely in my all-time top 5 SFA and to be honest if they opened with this one and then packed up and went home, I’d still feel I’d had my money’s worth.
Play It Cool / Run-Away / Helium Hearts: Picking up the tempo a bit now. Play It Cool has an awesome video by the way.
Northern Lites / Ice Hockey Hair: 2 very poppy but still very experimental singles here. I’ve always thought that Northern Lites is what the best Beck songs would sound like if Beck was a much better singer.
Cloudberries / Ohio Heat: A couple from the under-rated Love Kraft album now. I love Cloudberries and remember this being a highlight of previous gigs. But it is a bit of a weird one, kind of like 3 songs in one. Good time for the more casual fans to go for a piss maybe? So long as they’re back in time for the cheery country-tinged singalong of Ohio Heat.
Sunny Seville / Summer Snow: Continuing the heat / summer theme with a couple of b-sides. Super Furry Animals have never been a band to lazily fill up their singles with unessential live versions and remixes. They’ve got loads of excellent songs hidden away on their singles. I actually wanted to include a couple more b-sides on my playlist (Calimero, Rabid Dog) but they aren’t on Spotify. Listen out for the “sucking on dic-taphone” lyric here. The band have always revelled in wordplay and once released a b-side with the outstanding title of “Happiness Is A Worn Pun”
Let The Wolves Howl At The Moon / Demons / Bass Turned To D.E.A.D.: Another album closer here, this one from Hey Venus is a more reflective song that sounded like a classic on the very first listen. Followed by 2 from Radiator. The trumpet solo in Demons is a real “hairs on the back of your neck” moment.
Liberty Belle / Valet Parking / The Roman Road / Golden Retriever: 4 songs from the Phantom Power era. Need to be played with the Yeti suits on obviously. Valet Parking is another of the “starts off fairly normally, but then Cian goes crazy with his knobs and gizmos” songs. I’m hoping that electronic freakout bit goes on for even longer when they play it live.
(Drawing) Rings Around The World / Ymaelodi Â’r Ymylon / The Teacher / Keep The Cosmic Trigger Happy: Why not follow the well-loved single Golden Retriever with another “big hitter” and the title track from what is probably the band’s best known album. Then another one from Mwng, a very catchy tune whose title means Joining the Periphery apparently. In my imagination this is already just about the best gig I’ve ever been to! Following that up with a couple from Guerilla including another album closer, a song which seems to be a fans favourite at previous gigs.
Juxtaposed With U / Hermann Loves Pauline: A couple more “big hitters”. The first is slick, sexy and vocoder-tastic. The second is another of my top 5 and contains a great French bread pun.
Smokin’ / The Door To This House Remains Open / Receptacle for the Respectable: These ones to finish off the main set. Time for Cian and his electronic gadgetry to drive us absolutely insane.
The crowd are shouting for more but will the band return? Here they come but how can they possibly follow what we’ve just seen and heard.
Encore 1: Do Or Die / Frisbee / Guacamole / God Show Me Magic: Four, yes four, really fast early numbers to get us all jumping around again. When I first saw the band, I only knew one of their songs so it seems fitting and nicely cyclical that they should end with that.
That’s yer lot folks. The house lights are on. Sup up yer beer and collect your fags.
Hang on a minute, they’re coming back for another encore.
Encore 2: Mountain People: The song chosen by us as The Official Anthem for the county of Gwynedd. This one’s got a bit of everything, starts off as an acoustic singalong anthem and then ends up as another of those “Cian goes crazy with his knobs and gizmos” songs. Go for it Cian!
Notable omission: I haven’t included the usual set-closer “The Man Don’t Give A Fuck”, not because I don’t want them to play it, far from it in fact. The version I heard / experienced at the Brixton Academy gig in 2001 is one of the greatest gig memories of my life. But it’s not on Spotify so there you go.
Here’s hoping we get to hear some of the above on the 6th May. See you down the front amigos.
Previous Super Furry Animals gigs I’ve been to (as best as I can remember)
- May 1996: Essential Music Festival, Brighton
- July 1996: Phoenix Festival, Warwickshire
- December 1996: Brixton Academy (supporting Manic Street Preachers)
- June 1997: Glastonbury
- May 1998: Shepherds Bush Empire
- August 1999: V Festival, Chelmsford
- November 1999: Brixton Academy
- October 2001: Brixton Academy
- October 2003: Manchester Academy
- September 2005: Manchester Academy
- Thanks to unofficial fan site superfurry.org for help with dates
Other Super Furry Animals posts on our blog:
- Podcast number 12: The Swearing Special
- Playlist for John Peel Day
- Live review podcast: Long Division festival
- Kicker’s Monthly Mix: July 2014