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Gruff Rhys

27-Sep-2007 07:06 pm Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Gruff Rhys
The Rivoli in Toronto, Ontario
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
Gruff Rhys September 25, 2007
Full Photo Set (6 photos)

Gruff Rhys is the vocals and guitar of the successful Super Furry Animals, a band out of Cardiff, Wales. After many years together, Gruff started work on a side-project and released his first solo album entitled Yr Atal Genhedlaeth in 2005, an album with all the lyrics in Welsh. Earlier this year he released his second solo album, Candylion, filled with material that was reportedly written during the Love Kraft tour. In both cases, some underlying similarities with Super Furry Animals can be heard in the songwriting, but the songs themselves are much more sparse and experimental. Gruff is now taking a "two week sabbatical" from the band for a solo tour through North America, accompanied by a female vocalist, a suitcase filled with noise-making gadgets and props.

Gruff Rhys
Gruff Rhys
Gruff Rhys

Gruff spent the entire night seated behind a large table covered with a red wool blanket with all his gadgets and props spread out on top in a seemingly unorganized state. He introduced a couple of his items with proper names, such as Collin. Although many of his songs were completely solo, he would build-up beats and backgrounds using a looping machine - in one case warning us that the upcoming song would take a while to get going. Using the looping machine, he took us to the rainforests of Hawaii for a song called Pdwyn Wy 2, a track from his first solo album. Between songs he spent quite a bit of time talking and telling stories, mostly humorous, but sometime as longer and very imaginative introductions. His gadgets were used to create electronic squeals and pops, and after one particular sequence, he held up a old-looking felt banner with sewn-on letters that read "The Very Best of Neil Diamond". Apparently he purchased it for £10, unable to imagine what purpose it could have ever had, so he decided to give it a purpose by bringing it on tour.

Gruff Rhys
Gruff Rhys

Gruff showed us his guitar and explained his unique style of playing. He plays left-handed, like Hendrix did, but rather than invert the strings, he learned to play it upside-down with the bass strings on the bottom. When he looked to the audience for requests, one fan yelled Sidewalk Surfer Girl to which Gruff responded "I couldn't play Super Furry sounds without my brothers in the band". It clearly wasn't a Super Furry Animals concert. Instead it was an extremely intimate show, almost like we were sitting at the kitchen table with him at a party.

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