Gruff played at solo set upstairs at Rough Trade in Nottingham's hipster central district of Hockley the day after the release of his 8th solo album 'Sadness Sets Me Free'.

 The first two songs are the title track and then the single 'Bad Friend' and it's clear that Gruff's characteristic magnificently, melancholic, melodies are present on the new material. 

 It's not a straight play through of the new stuff though as Gruff plays the 'hits' from his solo career. Several tracks from 'Hotel Shampoo' including 'Shark Ridden Waters' and 'Sensations in the Dark' get an airing.  The title track from 'American Interior' and ' Gyrru, Gyrru Gyrru' gets an affectionate reception. Gruff attaches a harmonica for a wonderful version of ' The Court of King Arthur' , he takes an audience  request for 'Year of the Dog' (well the one line Gruff says he can remember) but wisely ignores a request for 'The Man Don't Give a Fuck' as it's pre-watershed and there are small children present. 

Gruff has two guitars on stage and both get their own introduction. One is from Sweden “ as they have plenty of wood  ” and an American model ( at which point somebody “boos” although not clear why they choose to “boo” at a musical instrument ?)  which Gruff explains was gifted to him by Cerys Matthews as a thank you for some session work. Although thanks to a misunderstanding (and airfreight costs) he missed out on the guitar that Cerys originally wanted to give him, the previous owner of which was Neil Young. 

Those familiar with Gruff's live show will be aware of his audience cue cards. As the time for the traditional end of set encore arrives Gruff holds up a card with “RESIST FALSE ENCORES” written on it and explains that he could walk over to the side of the stage, forget the key code to backstage, hang around and look embarrassed or just keep playing. The “encore” is 'Colonise The Moon' a bonus track on the Superfurry's album 'Love Kraft' and a cover of Kevin Ayers' ' Singing a Song in the Morning' as final notes linger in the air the cue cards  are back “APPLAUSE”, “WILD ABANDON”, “APE SHIT”, “THANK YOU” and “THE END”.    

Alisdair Whyte