Supergrass, 22-20s

Clive Drew 08/05/2004

It's hard to believe that Supergrass, seemingly forever the perennial young scamps of Britpop are ten. It seems as if the likes of Coldplay have aged more in five years then the 'Grass have in a decade. From the throwaway pop of hits such as "Alright" to the more sophisticated album tracks such as Prophet 15 and Faraway, Supergrass have proved that they are one of this country's finest, most consistent songwriters.

It's good to see Gaz Coombes keeping it in the family, as support comes from his younger brother's band, gritty neo-blues outfit the 22-20s. Emerging in a cloud of smoke and dimmed lights, bassist Glen Bartrup struts around the stage like a young Mick Jagger, whilst singer/guitarist Martin Trimble slurs and growls his way through incendiary recent single Why Don't You Do It For Me? and the three-chord blues romp of I'm the One. The 22-20s are a little different to what's currently on the standard garage-rock conveyor belt, and are definitely ones to watch.

You can easily forget what a superb arsenal of brilliant guitar-pop singles Supergrass have. After the brooding opening mantra of In It For The Money, the likes of Richard III, then onto Lose It and Lenny that are tucked away early into their set. After the initial half hour of their set, a leather sofa is brought centre stage, and the band complete with cups of coffee treat us an acoustic interlude campfire-stylee. The content of this break in proceedings is debatable; Wait For The Sun is for more filler than killer, and surely an acoustic version of the usual amphetamine-rush of Caught By The Fuzz defies the whole object of it? It's Not Me and Late In The Day sound particularly gorgeous stripped-down though.

Back fully plugged-in, the band treat us to the E-bow-enhanced funk-out of new single Kiss of Life, the glorious 70s stoner rock of Time, as well as the care-free three minute pop gems that have become synonymous with Gaz and Co, over the years; Strange Ones (dedicated to the “strange people” of hometown Oxford), Mansize Rooster and Sun Hits The Sky, in many respects seeing in the summer.

Unashamedly pop, and unafraid not to conform, Supergrass have seen a new legion of followers in recent years, especially with bands such as the Libertines and Jet quoting their music as an influence. Shows such as tonight's pretty much flawless effort only goes to prove that Supergrass are national treasures, and should be savoured for it. Not bad for a group allegedly named after a particularly potent type of dope.