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Transmission
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Concert Wed Nov 12 2014

Photos/Review: Gruff Rhys @ Schubas Tavern 11-12-14

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It's always good to see the Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys up to anything, even if it isn't involving a proper Super Furries show. Showcasing his newest solo release, American Interior, his imagination, wit, and intellect again made for a rare treat to the midwest crowd. Hailing from Wales, Rhys was all about Welsh pride in his two hour-plus alternate history of how Prince Madoc and John Evans help discover America (instead of Columbus) and how some of the First Nation ended up speaking Welsh.

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In what was an intoxicating mixture of history and myth, Gruff Rhys mainly talked about the life of John Evans, the man who was so interesting there was an actual puppet crafted for him for the stage. Rhys explored Evans's journey through some pretty hilarious slides featuring the puppet first parading around London on the tube, drinking take away coffee (in, you know, the 1700s), then his journey to America where he has to deal with all kinds of calamities including crocodiles, malaria, a "touch of the cholera," name changes, incarceration in a dungeon, an assassination attempt and more. Poor John Evans really suffered to be the precursor to the explorations of Lewis & Clark!

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Probably even funnier was Gruff's delivery as if he was giving an actual important lesson on Welsh history, starting with a 10-minute video that looked as if it was created in the 1970s that talked about how the Daughters of the American Revolution even acknowledged Prince Madoc and the possibility of him not Columbus discovering America. You have to give Gruff points for creativity at the very least. The man could probably get away with writing a Pynchon style novel based on historical events but probably with a great deal more humor.

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Rhys was also accompanied this time by fellow Welshman Kliph Scurlock on drums (formerly of Flaming Lips) who was happy to sing along and participate and is always a nice edition when he joins Rhys. Rhys did a great job overall of mixing his vocals, layering and looping, playing samples and putting on some nice visual and auditory effects to keep the two man show flowing and interesting (not that it needed any help with how naturally entertaining he is). Hopefully, Gruff Rhys will possibly consider having the Super Furry Animals tour again considering the 20th anniversary of Fuzzy Logic but, if not, these side project efforts at least give us a charming tour into his own Welsh interior.

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Opener Adam Busch, formerly of Sonoi, also played a lovely acoustic set. His music is definitely for fans of the late great Scotsman Bert Jansch, which is high praise coming from this reviewer.

 
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Ben / November 13, 2014 9:56 AM

Though a Welshman in spirit I'm sure, I believe Kliph is actually from Kansas.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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