Earlier this afternoon, Gruff Rhys introduced his American Interior film in the Cinema tent at End Of The Road – “I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing,” his speech began, endearingly.
But luckily, the sometime Super Furry Animal knows exactly what he’s up to during his musical set on the Garden Stage a couple of hours later.
I can’t remember ever seeing a festival set where half of it consists of the artist telling a historically accurate, well-researched story – in this case, about John Evans, who single-handedly headed from Wales to America in the 1790s to search for Welsh-speaking First Nation tribes (he eventually concluded there weren’t any) – accompanied by slides.
It’s also hard to remember a festival set which went down better than Gruff’s American Interior set does today, the large crowd silent throughout his between-song run-throughs of Evans’ eventful travels.
This being Evans’ story, much of American Interior the album gets played, but there’s still time for older solo tracks such as “Shark Ridden Waters” and “Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru”.
Gruff’s group is excellent, too, with stalwart Alun Tan Lan on guitar and former Flaming Lip Kliph Scurlock on drums, notably.
“We’ve got six minutes,” says Gruff after Evans’ story is done. “We’re gonna play some pop songs really fast.” He only manages to fit in “Sensations In The Dark”, but no matter – it’s an exemplary set, anyway.
Gruff Rhys played:
Gwn Mi Wn
Shark Ridden Waters
Liberty (Is Where We’ll Be)
Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru
100 Unread Messages
Sensations In The Dark
Year Of The Dog (instrumental)
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