SUPER FURRY ANIMALS with DJ Boom BIP at the Phoenix, September 19. Tickets: $17.50. Attendance: 500. Rating: NNNN
There's nothing like a perfectly dull laptop performance to reinforce the notion that concerts are becoming increasingly more like watching television than like live performances.Huddled behind his iBook, Cincinnati producer and DJ Boom Bip wasn't exactly the epitome of entertainment at the Phoenix Thursday. Perhaps he'd been ignored or heckled before, so rather than get involved with anything messy like crowd interaction, Boom Bip matched his loping beats -- a kind of hiphop for people who like Radiohead, not hiphop -- with massive projections of men diving into pools mixed with live images of him scratching back and forth on the turntables.
It was a pleasant diversion from the tedium at hand, but Bip would be better to abandon the ruse of playing in front of a crowd and stick himself behind the screen. At least that way we'd have a clear view of the film.
Super Furry Animals are no slouches themselves when it comes to movie-making. Still touring behind a record that's a year and a half old, the Welsh crew have had to find other things beyond the songs to entertain themselves. At the Phoenix, this meant setting up turntables backstage and DJing live onto a big screen, playing with quadraphonic sound and syncing their performance to the short films from their Rings Around The World DVD.
Never ones to come up short in the ambition department, they got all three elements working perfectly with the group's music. Performing almost all of Rings as well as a few choice oldies and B-sides, the band made the most of the swirling sound, while a man in a John Lennon mask tossed out sticks of celery so the audience could chomp along to Receptacle For The Respectable, and videos of mushroom clouds and a barking Lenin played in the background.
It was as twisted as their tunes, and almost enough to make you forget they played virtually the same set just five months ago.