Gruff Rhys at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, review: ‘His audience has remained loyal’

Gruff Rhys at The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea on November 8, 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor
Gruff Rhys at The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea on November 8, 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor

It may be 22 years ago when Gruff Rhys first appeared at the the Wedgewood Rooms with Super Furry Animals, but judging by number of  the greying hipster beards in attendance, his audience has remained truly loyal and have turned out in good numbers.

Appearing on stage carrying a placard announcing the new album’s title: ‘Babelsberg' and: 'Side 1,' Gruff and his band dutifully play the new tracks in strict sequence as they appear on disc, beginning with the wonderful Frontier Man.

It takes a brave singer to attempt this and something which I must confess have never seen a band do before, but somehow it works and the crowd remain transfixed.

After ‘Side 2’ is finished Gruff treats the audience to a selection of solo material including a few tracks from his previous long-player, American Interior, a concept album about Welsh explorer John Evans.

Pronouncing to do away with phoney encores, Gruff brandishes more placards than Joey Ramone could wave a stick at, imploring the crowd to ever-greater levels of applause.

We are finally sent home happy with the sublime If We Were Words (We Would Rhyme) from his 2011 album Hotel Shampoo.