Phrases like ‘brit pop survivors’ are often bandied about when critics talk about Supergrass. It’s as if there was some terrible cull of mid-nineties guitar bands at the stroke of midnight on December 31st 2000. Or is that just wishful thinking?
But the truth is, there’s something wonderfully reassuring about this band. They turn up every few years, quietly release an album, and sit back and watch as the singles get absorbed into the national consciousness. Then they disappear for a while before doing it all over again.
Which brings us to Diamond Hoo Ha and the current tour. The band are in good spirits as they take the stage of the Bristol Academy, with Gaz radiating his usual geezerish charm as he introduces the rest of the gang.
Songs from the latest album are clearly the order of the night and, indeed, the band kick off with a faultless ‘Diamond Hoo Ha Man’. As the night goes on, a divide becomes clear from the balcony – aside from a knot of the devoted in the middle, most of the people here clearly don’t know the new material. But no matter, for this is Supergrass and a good time is guaranteed for all. ‘Ghost of a Friend’, with its Dylanesque backing vocals, and a blistering ‘Whisky and Green Tea’ in particular are greeted with wild enthusiasm.
That’s not to say that the ‘Grass stint on the classics. ‘Moving’ comes following a minor set-to with a heckler. There’s fan favourite ‘Brecon Beacons’ and the band finish with ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ – a song that still, remarkably, sounds fresh after fourteen years and about a million tours.
Really there’s no secret to Supergrass’s survival and enduring appeal – they’re simply a staggeringly good band, full of warmth and charm. Tonight, as I suspect on every other night, they made it all look incredibly easy.