I recently saw on stage the two above-mentioned bands and although they do not have a lot in common in their music, they probably share a passion for their art and a high degree of excellence.
The Blow Monkeys
First, the place was quite amazing as Under the Bridge is a club which is literally below Stanford Bridge Stadium, home of Chelsea F.C. I did not know what to expect from the Blow Monkeys as my last and only concert of this band happened…29 years ago but living the experience in the same place where PSG played an amazing game a month before could only mean good vibes. I must say I was not disappointed as the show was very lively and full of surprises.
The Blow Monkeys had a few hits in the late 80’s when their mix of white soul, rock and jazzy sensitivity made them one of the best British bands for a few years. Their first career went from 1984 to 1990 in the course of 5 great albums (“Limping for a Generation” from 1984 being a particular hidden gem) before giving it a halt, allowing their leader Dr. Robert to work on different projects (with Paul Weller between others). They came back in 2008, have published in a more confidential way four very good LP’s and go now regularly on tour.
Of course, when one was watching at the audience and a few embarrassing dance moves, one could feel the weight (sometimes literally) of years gone by but I found the band on top form and their leader Dr. Robert particularly happy to be here and singing in his beautiful and very personal voice. Lots of new good songs, many classics such as “Digging your scene” or “It does not have to be this way” and few great covers (Neil Young, Curtis Mayfield) made it the perfect playlist as far as I was concerned.
Super Furry Animals
Different pattern with the Super Furry Animals as this great Welsh band is more contemporary to our modern times. Since their first LP “Fuzzy Logic” in 1996, they have been the constant purveyors of beautiful records, mixing folk, Beatles-y melodies with inventive and psychedelic sounds. They have been probably one of the most original bands of the last 20 years and their aim with this small tour was to remind everyone of their greatness after a period when the band was on hiatus to allow their respective members to work on separate projects.
Apart from another bite in Nostalgialand with my being back to the Brixton Academy 25 years after having enjoyed the forgotten band The Wonder Stuff, the show was special as occurring just after election day in the UK. There were a few comments here and there from leader and main singer Gruff Rhys about it but not much time to do so too long as they were busy with their long set of great songs, covering all periods.
Incredible celebration atmosphere in the audience but moreover on stage with the band wearing white industrial overalls amidst great psychedelic lights. They ended their show as traditionally expected with “The man don’t give a fuck“, wearing the yeti suits !