Home Live Review Live Review: Gruff Rhys @ DC9 — 3/9/24

Live Review: Gruff Rhys @ DC9 — 3/9/24

Live Review: Gruff Rhys @ DC9 — 3/9/24
Gruff Rhys performs at DC9 on March 9, 2024. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

In the reviews for his new album, Sadness Sets Me Free, I’ve seen quite a few outlets mention that this is Gruff Rhys’s 25th album in 35 years of releasing music. Britpop, psychedelic rock, Welsh folk songs, album soundtracks, dance music, Welsh pop with a couple of verses of Zulu…the man can do it all.

Bill Pearis at Brooklyn Vegan put it perfectly when he described how Gruff “consistently manages to do something new every time while only ever sounding like himself.”

Sadness Sets Me Free, officially his 8th album billed as a solo artist, is among his finest work and follows up on the strong effort that was 2021’s Seeking New Gods. Both albums evoke welcomed Super Furry Animals vibes (“New Gods” is filled with “Radiator” energy and guitar tones while “Sadness” has the contemplative technicolor sound of “Rings Around the World”) — but they both are pushing ahead rather than rehashing old ideas.  

On March 9 at DC9, Gruff’s set featured 20 songs from eight different albums, but focused mostly on his newest work. Gruff played stripped down, acoustic versions of three of those songs, “Sadness Sets Me Free,” “Bad Friend,” and “Celestial Candyfloss,” last October at Songbyrd when he opened for This is the Kit.

Stream Sadness Sets Me Free by Gruff Rhys on Spotify:

It was a real treat to hear those tunes fully fleshed out with his backing band of drummer Kliph Scurlock, keyboardist Osian Gwynedd, and bassist Huw Williams. Scurlock (who has produced an amazing run of Super Furry Animals album reissues over the last few years) is the band’s not-so-secret weapon, providing a wealth of manic energy during the uptempo numbers like “Pang” but also pulling back and providing great atmosphere of quieter material like “I Tendered my Resignation.” 

Rhys has carved out quite a career for himself, churning out new material every year or two and constantly being on the lookout for new collaborators and partners. He’s 13 years into his post-Super Furry solo era and it honestly feels like he’s found an entirely new gear. I’m excited to see where he goes next and knowing him, we won’t have to wait long to find out.


I’ll Keep Singing
Sadness Sets Me Free
Bad Friend
Mausoleum of My Former Self
Loan Your Loneliness
Celestial Candyfloss
Silver Lining (Lead Balloons)
Taranau Mai
Cover Up the Cover Up
I Tendered My Resignation
On the Far Side of the Dollar
Walk Into the Wilderness
Peace Signs
Shark Ridden Waters
American Interior
Ni Yw Y Byd
Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru
I’ll Keep Singing (Instrumental reprise)

Here are some more photos of Gruff Rhys performing at DC9 on March 9, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Kyle Gustafson.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here