sat 04/04/2020

Supergrass, Barrowland, Glasgow review - nostalgic reunion proves greatest hits stand test of time | reviews, news & interviews

Supergrass, Barrowland, Glasgow review - nostalgic reunion proves greatest hits stand test of time

Supergrass, Barrowland, Glasgow review - nostalgic reunion proves greatest hits stand test of time

The Oxford quartet provided wit, charm and good tunes aplenty

Supergrass, a band on the run

As Gaz Coombes noted around the halfway point of Supergrass’s Barrowland set “the last time we were here it was to say goodbye”. That was a decade ago, when one of Britpop’s most enduring acts finally headed into the sunset. Nothing lasts forever in pop though, and here were Oxford’s finest, back onstage, and looking in fine fettle.

As Gaz Coombes noted around the halfway point of Supergrass’s Barrowland set “the last time we were here it was to say goodbye”. That was a decade ago, when one of Britpop’s most enduring acts finally headed into the sunset. Nothing lasts forever in pop though, and here were Oxford’s finest, back onstage, and looking in fine fettle.

They opened with “Caught By The Fuzz”, and it sounded as breathlessly exciting as ever, an under three minute blast of punky pop dynamism. That was a common theme throughout the set, and one that not all nostalgia tours like this can always offer, in that music still possessed a sense of excitement, without feeling strictly beholden to years gone by

It also offered a vivid reminder of the group’s variety, from the scampering charm of “Sitting Up Straight” to a wistful, acoustic-led “St Petersburg” and leaping from a swaying, joyful anthem like “Late In The Day” to a titanic sounding “Lenny” that concluded the main set with violent noise. For all that they were born during Britpop, they were never chained to it, and that is another reason why their reunion, seemingly just for the coming year, should be warmly received, especially when reminders arrived of the strength of their rhythm section.

Danny Goffey on drums was going all over the place like a Stretch Armstrong toy, while sunglasses wearing bassist Mick Quinn looked to be having a whale of a time, leaning into his backing vocals with glee.

Of course, it is still an exercise in nostalgia, which meant that the set was never going to forego any of the expected big hitters. Coombes, wearing a fedora throughout and with a voice honed by years as a solo act, threw out an early dedication to the “lovely pocket of mentalists” who were bounding around from the off, but that number swelled as the old favourites were rolled out.

“Alright” succeeded through sheer perkiness, even when Coombes slipped up with the lyrics, “Grace” was a rollicking ride carried by joyful piano from Rob Coombes, and “Sun Hits The Sky” a dose of freak-out pop, with the lesser known Coombes getting to shine again. They always did know how to pick a good single, after all.

A cynic might have heard “In It For The Money” arrive around the midway mark and wondered if that was a motivating factor, as it is with so many reunion tours. Yet with such good cheer cascading around the Barrowland such thoughts were gone within seconds. There was wit, there was melody and there was a sense of fun about the reunion, right through to the glam rock swagger of Pumping On Your Stereo that wrapped the night up.

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