July 19th marked the return of Super Furry Animals to Toronto after 8 long years. From touring festivals in a blue soundsystem-equiped tank to being the jersey sponsor for Welsh football side, Cardiff City to owning a Guinness Book Record for the longest title for an EP (1995’s Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch), without a doubt, SFA have never been uninteresting. After peaking creatively with their monumental 2001 album, Rings Around The World, the Furries released a series of increasingly less interesting albums, which perhaps precipitated their 2010 hiatus. Despite the dry spell, a few members released solo albums during this period (including keyboardist Cian Ciaran’s lovely, They Are Nothing Without Us and lead singer Gruff Rhys’ historical concept album, American Interior). While the band played a few shows closer to home throughout Europe, this current tour was their first back across the pond despite not having a new album to support.
After walking on (in matching white disposable jumpsuits) to the pre-recorded techno intro of and then starting the show with, Phantom Power’s Slow Life, the band launched in to a 16-song set that touched on most of their albums. Backed by vintage film, Gruff completed the visual side of the show by donning a Power Ranger mask for a few songs and held up placards urging the audience to applaud and go apeshit and politely, to say thanks. Rhys also thanked the audience but between the mumbles and the accent, it was hard to understand the words. Luckily, their music did all the talking. Romps through the title track from Rings Around The World, the fan fave, Ice Hockey Hair, Hometown Unicorn and If You Don’t Want Me To Destroy You – two off 1996’s Fuzzy Logic were met with cheers from the packed Opera House crowd. The show ended with the catchy, yet profane The Man Don’t Give A Fuck, which the band performed in yeti costume. Of course.
Despite seeming somewhat uninspired, the band put on a solid show of choice selections. If you’re only going to see one Welsh psychedelic pop band this year, make it Super Furry Animals.