Hello from Austin, Texas! Huh? What? You didn’t now? Yeah I moved down here last month. Find out more here and here. One of the tasty benefits of being in Austin is the city-billed title of being the ‘Live Music Capital of the World.” So while I’m down here, I’m gonna put that title to the test. First up was a tiny little concert that got bumped from the Mohawk to Club de Ville. Damn you, Melvins. Gruff Rhys was the lead singer of Super Furry Animals but he has since been on a creative path of his own since the mid 2000s. Knowing his history but not his current scene, I decided to check him out.
I arrived at Club de Ville about 15 minutes into Gruff’s set. It can totally be blamed on my newbness but the website that advertised the show was in Eastern time and not Central so I thought I was early. If you follow the blog, you know that I’ve frequented Club de Ville many a time. This time was the first that didn’t involve the Found Footage Festival. The same sweet, endearing attitude that the FFF guys brought along with their crappy videos was the same sweet, endearing musicality of Gruff Rhys.
The Super Furry Animals was a kick ass English band that I somehow lost connection with after college. Little did I know that the lead singer of the group kept producing music. So when I was flipping through websites trying to justify a night out on a holiday weekend down here, I figured to give Gruff a chance. You know what? For what the admission was worth, I got a great deal.
There’s always been an underlying sincerity with the Super Furry Animals. Now I know it has to do more with Gruff Rhys. The sweetness dripped heavy, especially on songs like ‘Honey All Over’ and ‘If We Were Words (We Would Rhyme).’ Gruff didn’t go overboard, however. The fact that the Melvins and some other sludge metal type bands were playing next door helped out. It also gave an opportunity for Gruff to flex his wit.
Gruff also flexed his technological ability. The amount of noise gadgets that filled the stage exceeded my expectations. There were these wobbly, red light tipped, noise makers he shook every once in awhile. He had a tiny metal box with a red light shining on itself that produced sound. The coolest gadget for me was the record player he used to drop in effects and other items during songs. It’s such a practical use for an old technology that you can get away with using it live and not have to drop major coin for a big computer box thingy to play sounds when needed.
So Gruff Rhys is Welsh. I found out Friday night because of all of the Welsh language songs he belted out. Apparently he’s been sprinkling Welsh language songs in albums for a couple of years now. It was a strange twist for me and again it helped keep things level for the whole night. A traditional Welsh song versus super sludge metal was something I did not expect. Although some of the traditional songs went on a bit too long and it left me wanting more of the sweetness.
And that’s what I want now. For an almost summer Friday night, the kind of melodies Gruff Rhys laid out across the bedrock layered Club de Ville made me long to fall asleep tucked into cotton candy sheets and resting on marshmallow pillows. Okay, I went too far. But there was no buzz kill to be had at the Club de Ville Friday night. It was all warm and fuzzy. We’re allowed at least one night of the year to be that way and Gruff Rhys helped me fill my quota.