An Interview with Super Furry Animals' Cian Ciaran

Super Furry Animals (Photo: SFA)
The Welsh rock band, Super Furry Animals, hit the Great American Music Hall on Tuesday, February 9th, and we recently had the chance to speak with Cian Ciaran about the upcoming show! Limited tickets still remain here.

SF Bay Area Concerts: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us about your upcoming show at the Great American Music Hall!

Cian Ciaran: You're welcome, thanks for asking and listening or is that reading?

SFBAC: In your letter to Mr. Tanaami regarding Hey Venus! you define some of the eclecticism of that music as ranging from “country and contemporary rock music to orchestral psychedelic pop.” If you add punk and electronica into the mix it sort of begins to capture the SFA sound. How do you describe the music you guys make?

Cian Ciaran: Probably the worst person to ask. I tend not to describe our music as it get's incredibly boring listening to a musician rabbiting on so I'll try to keep it short for you. It's very broad and eclectic. We have so many influences, as do all musicians, that I don't care to start making a list, it would be never ending. I don't care much for disco music either but then I love 'I feel Love' - Dona Summer, see what I mean? You end up contradicting yourself. We were described once in a Japanese article as upside down bubblegum pop.... works for me.

SFBAC: With so many different styles, it would be easy to continue to make the same type of music by switching around the same songs in different ways. But your albums continue to break new ground by stretching and bending the SFA sound. What can we expect in the future?

Cian Ciaran: We'll have to wait and see, at the moment the focus is on playing live again. We have no album of new material to promote, no agenda, just play for playings sake.  We haven't played the west coast since '08, I believe, so very much looking forward to it. Everyone in the band keeps on writing and releasing material outside the band through various solo projects and collaborations, so I guess there's a clue in there of what could be. You could give one song to 5 individuals and get 5 different interpretations back, but with a band you get the cauldron on, and see where it takes you. That's what makes it unique and exciting for me. 

SFBAC: You guys have all been pretty busy recently with a ton of interesting side projects—including books! What is it that makes everyone want to “get the band back together?”

Cian Ciaran: The stars being in alignment.

SFBAC: You can almost make a SFA release about San Francisco—the odd, ironic intentional and unintentional freakishness of it. Anything you’re looking forward to doing while in The Bay?

Cian Ciaran: I've spent a lot of time in SF recently and seen it change a lot over the years. I usually have to pick up a super deluxe veg burrito from La Cumbre on Valencia at some point. We won't have much time to do anything really outside a soundcheck and traveling to and from the next gig. No days off on this tour. Saying that, I must of been in the bay area over a dozen times and I've never walked over Golden Gate or visited Alcatraz.

SFBAC: "The Man Don’t Give A Fuck" is one of my favorite songs of yours—is there a reason you decided to release it separately from Fuzzy Logic or Radiator?

Cian Ciaran: Not so sure what the story is any more with that release, it's all a bit fuzzy as it was a long time ago. I think Alan McGee suggested it should be a release in it's own right or something, or we couldn't get clearance in time for the album release date?? I don't know to be honest.

SFBAC: In World War Z there is a WHO research facility in Cardiff which kind of saves the world. Of course it’s populated by an eclectic post apocalyptic crew of heroes, drugs and disease, and dozens of zombies. Kind of sounds like a SFA album?

Cian Ciaran: Can't think of anything worse, he he. I hate horror movies, zombies and paranormal shit, puts me on edge. The Shining is the shit tho! And I did watch that wwZ and I laughed when I heard about Cardiff. There is a big Uni here involved in medical research mind, I used to be a guinea pig for their trials 20 years ago, taking flu drugs and placebos, running on tread mills for $30 a time, but they have brain reading machines and all sorts these days.

SFBAC: On that note, we want to say thanks again for making the time to speak with us and we're looking forward to your show at the Great American on Feb. 9th!

Review - Todd Rundgren @ the Fox Theater, Redwood City (1/11/16)

Todd Rundgren (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Fans of Todd Rundgren were treated to a nearly two hour show earlier this week at the sold-out Fox Theater in Redwood City. Without an opening band to warm-up the crowd, Todd and company hit the stage just after 8pm and proceeded to work through a setlist of nearly 25 songs.

Todd Rundgren (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Personally speaking, I've always been more familiar with Todd's extensive production credits, and less-so his own music. But I was blown away by his eclectic song writing and the way he seamlessly transitioned between rock, ballads and blues.

Todd Rundgren Redwood City 1/11/16 Setlist (Photo: Kevin Keating)
As you can see, the setlist below features minor tweaks to the printed setlist taped to the stage floor, with probably the biggest change in the closing number -- a tribute to the late David Bowie and performance of "Rebel, Rebel."

Todd Rundgren (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Don't miss our earlier interview with Todd here, and be sure to catch him on tour if/when he comes to your town! Tour dates can be found here.

Todd Rundgren Setlist Fox Theatre, Redwood City, CA, USA 2016, 2015 - 2016 Winter Tour - An Evening With Todd Rundgren

Review - Tool @ the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (1/6/16)

Tool's Adam Jones (Photo: Kevin Keating)
What an amazing show last night at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium! Nearly a month after Puscifer played the Fox Theater in Oakland, Maynard James Keenan was at it again! This time though, Maynard brought along Adam Jones, Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor for two nights at the Bill Graham with TOOL!

Maynard James Keenan & Adam Jones of Tool (Photo: Kevin Keating)
The anticipation was palpable as tour openers, 3TEETH, belted through a 40 minute set of industrial metal inspired by KMFDM, Frontline Assembly and Ministry. Nearly as impressive as the music, check out Alexis Mincolla's microphone stand!

3TEETH's Alexis Mincolla (Photo: Kevin Keating)
After a short break, Tool took to the stage just after 9pm and launched into an epic cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter". And with the exception of an instrumental new track, tentatively titled "Descending", the remainder of the night featured fan favorites from across their catalog as you'll see in the setlist below.

Danny Carey of Tool (Photo: Kevin Keating)
And having seen Puscifer only weeks before this show, there's a clear dichotomy between the two bands. Whereas Puscifer is what I'd call musical rock theater, Tool is an auditory and visual overload of mind bending videos mashed with an intense laser and light show that allows the music to pulse through your entire being. The band themselves stay nearly motionless throughout the show -- and in the case of MJK, dressed from head to toe in what looked like black SWAT gear, he attempts to stay hidden in the shadows as much as possible. The only color to be found on his gear was a 'Guns & Coffee' patch on his chest in a design that mimics the Starbucks logo.

Justin Chancellor (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Do yourself a favor and be sure to catch them when they come to your town! San Francisco was the kick-off to the US tour, so be patient and I'm sure they'll announce additional dates shortly!

Tool Setlist Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, USA 2016, 2016 Tour