Gruff Rhys at the Pepper Canister Church, Dublin – Review
Musician, film maker, composer and author – Gruff Rhys arrived to perform a sold out show at the Pepper Canister Church in a quaint street in Georgian Dublin. Rhys is known for – his solo work across the world, as lead singer of both ‘Super Furry Animals’ and ‘Neon Neon’, and his Mogwai, Dangermouse and Sparklehorse collaborations. Apparently, his latest Neon Neon album is a concept one about Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, so it is not a surprise to discover that his latest solo album ‘American Interior’ is no different.
Rhys opens the ‘American Interior’ experience, wolf hat on head in an unexpected manner with a twist in its tale. Fidgeting with gadgetry, the presentation screen faded into a documentary arguing that a myth of Welsh explorers discovering America before Columbus could be true. The documentary believed some Native Americans ‘The Modoc People’ spoke Welsh.
Rhys, proud advocate of all things Welsh puts his gigantic wolf stamp all over the myth, re-working the discovery into an investigative concert tour, The Muppets meet MacGyver style. Genius! His performance of album ‘American Interior’ (2014), in a cross between innovative storytelling and singing can only be described as an experience. With song telling the tale of Welsh man, the young Snowdonian John Evans who embarks on a daft and hilarious journey to discover the Madogwy’s in America.
Through puppetry and photography, Rhys sings and illustrates his way across John or even Don Juan Evans exploration. Each song is a unique mile point from ‘American Interior’ when the Welsh explorers originally landed, to Iolo Morganwg convincing young John Evans to go to America in the unforgettable ‘Iolo’ to Evans journey across America in ‘The Lost Conquistador’. Evans would agree that the ‘Lost Tribes’ was simply inevitable, as were his own conclusions in ‘The Swamp’ and ‘100 Unread Messages’, ending on ‘Gyrru, Gyrru, Gyrru’.
“Your visions carry me! Your visions carry me! American Interior.”
Returning to the pulpit, Rhys humbly performed some earlier solo work. ‘Sensations in the Dark’, ‘Post Apocalypse Christmas’ and more topped off with a highly deserved standing ovation.
An unforgettable experience – the Legend of Gruff Rhys continues!
Gruff Rhys is playing the Pepper Canister Church again tonight, December 17th.
Review by Aine Byrne