Super Rat Trap

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The Hot Rats – The Roadhouse , Manchester 13/10/2009

Nearly 15 years ago to the day Supergrass exuberantly hit the scene during the Brit Pop revolution , releasing “Caught by the Fuzz” and starting a career that , unlike most from back then, would still be alive and as fresh as ever today.  The Hot Rats is two thirds Supergrass , Gaz Coombes’ and Danny Goffeys’ tribute to their favourite artists and songs. A self confessed ‘Strange Experiment’. 

  
Radiohead Producer Nigel Godrich has kept his skills in Oxfordshire to work on the album , ‘Turn Ons’, due for release in January 2010 and tonight we hear it all. Rock , Punk , Ska and Hip Hop classics receive Gaz and Danny’s Hot Rats treatment. The choices aren’t all obvious, it’s a mix tape with a subtle balance of album tracks and the odd monster thrown in.

The duo join a couple of bizarre mannequins on stage and stomp through Velvet Undergrounds’ I can’t stand it.  The unmistakeable Coombes shrill rings out on (and for me an improvement on the original) The Kinks’ “Big Sky” before offering out the chance to “guess the song”. But for the lyrics the re-worked Beastie Boys – Fight for your Right was almost unrecognisable in melody and brought smiles all round.

A Goffey proclaimed “polite crowd were clapping in all the right places” but had yet to warm up. 

An uplifting take on The Doors trippy “Crystal Ship” helped matters; Gaz has some “Damaged Goods” of his own to deal with as guitars give up through the Gang Of Four cover but it pleases nonetheless and we are swiftly returned to Psychedelic splendour for the Syd Barrett penned “Bike” from Pink Floyds’ debut album.

The mostly Anglo influenced 13 song set jumps on with The Beat’s “Mirror in the Bathroom” and the small crowd at this intimate venue are now more into it. Goffey quips “from one camp ba*tard to another” as Bowie’s “Queen Bitch” is followed up brilliantly by Roxy Music’s “Love is a Drug”.

We are treated to a fittingly thunderous rendition of Elvis Costello’s “Pump it Up” and  (the only song from tonight not to appear on the album) The Beatles’ “Drive my Car” . Next tackled is The Cure’s “Lovecats” , a sing-a-long ensues and it’s without doubt a highlight of the performance.

After a brief departure the pair encore and leave us with a Sex Pistols cover, using “EMI”, no doubt, as a cheeky goodbye to their ex-label.

White Labels 7′ are sold and signed as the band mingle afterwards in true amiable fashion, showing that after 15 years of success they are still as grounded as the day started.  This may be a short-lived side project, but I for one would relish the chance to hear one or two of tonight’s offerings as part of a future Supergrass set.

Tallkenny

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