LIVE REVIEW: Supergrass @ Virgin Money Unity Arena, Newcastle (22.08.20) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Carl Chambers

When Supergrass, then fresh faced, but impeccably sideburned late teens, dropped Caught By The Fuzz twenty-six years ago, few could have imagined the situation we’d be in right now. At the height of the mid-90s rave scene, the thought of outdoor shows in pens of five people, and face-masks required to go to the toilet, would have been laughed at as wildly dystopian paranoia induced late night fever dreams. But here we are. And it works.

Yes, we’re not crammed into a stiflingly hot venue. Yes, we’re not sharing sweat with six strangers stood close enough to pass on a range of STIs, and yes, we don’t have to cross our legs for four hours because the chances of finding our mates after running to the toilet are slim to none. This is gig-going for the 21st Century, and I’m all for it. Even the shortest amongst us can see the stage, there’s no crush down the front, and I didn’t get a Converse to the face because some 15 year old bellend decided to go crowd-surfing for the twelfth time. To quote the band onstage tonight, it’s Alright.

Any act that can throw down an opening salvo of In It For The Money, Richard III and the ridiculous bombast of Mansize Rooster deserves to be paid attention to. Most bands would kill for just one track as good as any of those, but Supergrass have them in abundance. The hit-laden set is packed with ‘oh, I’d forgotten about this one!’ moments, including the blues rock blast of Diamond Hoo Ha Man, and 1999’s Pumping On Your Stereo, which closed a set in which they ploughed through a twenty song set, of which eighteen were singles, and all an absolute joy.

With these shows, the promoters have played a blinder. The eyes of the world are on Newcastle, and we’re pulling it off with aplomb, and showing how it’s done. This may be the way large-scale gigs have to happen for the foreseeable future. I wouldn’t mind terribly if they never go back to how they were.

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