Seemingly bored of Supergrass, Danny and Gaz set out on their own to perform a bunch of covers under a new name. It worked.
Date: October 18, 2009
Venue: Rescue Rooms
Covers bands are normally pretty dire, wringing out turgid pub-rock or sycophantically announcing that they’re “so honoured to be playing here at Dave and Lesley’s big day”, as they launch into Livin’ On A Prayer, or some other typical wedding reception standard.
But when a covers band is made up of half of Supergrass you know it’s going to be a little more exciting.
The Hot Rats are a side-project formed by Danny Goffey and Gaz Coombes from the band, who, along with former Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, have put together an album’s worth of cover versions, most of which we hear via nothing other than Danny’s vivacious drumming and Gaz’s guitar artistry.
There maybe just two of them up there on the stage – not counting the two sassily-dressed manikins which flank them – but the dearth in numbers doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of power and energy, because when one of the best drummers in indie combines with one of the best guitarists of his generation, the sheer, cochlea-fraying noise is bewildering, and the songs they cover are done so with copious amounts of skill and mastery.
They stamp their own sound on everything from The Kinks’ Big Sky to Gang Of Four’s Damaged Goods. Roxy Music’s Love Is The Drug is wonderfully taut, while The Lovecats by The Cure and The Beatles’ Drive My Car provoke the crowd into a sing-along.
But it’s (You’ve Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!) by the Beastie Boys which is pulled apart and deconstructed the most, taking on a completely new guise and having almost no semblance to the original whatsoever. But then, that’s the point. To be formulaic and to adhere to the blueprint of each song would render the project pointless. Any tin-pot wedding band can do that.
What Danny and Gaz have done is taken well-known songs and given them the Supergrass lick, once again exhibiting the Midas touch they have in such abundance.
“Thanks for joining us on our musical adventure”, Gaz enthusiastically barks before ending with The Sex Pistols’ anti-establishment classic EMI, concluding a set of skillful reinterpretation.