Below are a selection of recent reviews and articles around the bands 3 recent dates. Must say it is nice to see the NME supporting and acknowledging the bands importance once again. Long overdue!
Suede at the Albert Hall
There was a moment, not far from the end of Suede’s big comeback show, when the band finally let the audience have its say. The set had been briskly executed, songs strung together in quick, almost seamless bursts. Now the singer, Brett Anderson, marched from side to side, milking a ridiculously prolonged burst of applause, soaking up the limelight with the self-assured air of a man doing what he has clearly been put on this earth to do. “We haven’t finished yet,” he eventually said, with a twinkle in his eye.
It didn’t look that way in 2003 when the band that invented and then disowned Britpop simply fizzled out through lack of interest — from all sides. Once the most exciting and original English group since the Smiths, Suede had finally discovered that there were no more songs left to be written about trashed kids, TV screens, neon lights, chemical highs, satellites or gasoline, and even if there were, hardly anyone was still interested in buying them. Anderson has since made three solo albums and even attempted a reunion — as the Tears — with the group’s original guitarist and songwriter Bernard Butler. But nothing any of the individuals has subsequently attempted has come close to matching the former glories of the group, so it was only a matter of time before Suede returned, albeit without the errant Butler, who was replaced by Richard Oakes in 1994. Perhaps all they — and we — needed was a rest.
It helped that it was all in a good cause, namely the Teenage Cancer Trust. Suede came on to the hammer-blow beat and descending riff of She, and Anderson took command from the word go. “It’s the arse of the nation,” he sang, a description that could equally be applied to the gyrations achieved by his own remarkable backside. Bouncing off the monitors, jack-knifing and jumping into the none-too-gentle embrace of the fans piled up in front of the stage, the 42-year-old singer performed like a man possessed. His post-Bowie yodel was in fine fettle as the band swept in short order through Trash, Filmstar and then a heroic version of Animal Nitrate — still the best song in their repertoire, and still capable of sending an audience into a state of highly agitated rapture.
There was a sequence of more gentle songs including He’s Gone, a ballad that Anderson dedicated to a friend of his called Jessie who had died just three weeks ago. He ended the number on his knees, a picture of momentary desolation. Then he was back on his feet as the band swept through the gears again with sensational versions of So Young and Metal Mickey.
Brett Anderson and the gang reminded us just how brilliant they were in an astonishing one-off reunion concert for charity
Reviewed by Simon Price
Suddenly, everything stops. Suede have just delivered a swaggering, rump-shaking rendition of “Metal Mickey”, their second single, and Brett Anderson simply stands there, gazing around the upturned fruit bowl of the Royal Albert Hall in disbelief, drinking in wave after wave of deafening applause and grinning like a lunatic, occasionally mouthing the words “Come on!” It’s a spontaneous moment, and, he’ll tell me later, one of the greatest of his life. After a small eternity, he steps back to the microphone. “We ain’t finished yet …”
Suede’s five men in black have pulled it out of the fire with fearless hands. And make no mistake, there was fire. The song that precedes their arrival at this reunion show, Sex Pistols’ gloriously vile “Bodies”, keeps cutting in and out like a faulty hearing aid and, from the cybertronic Shirley Bassey of opener “She” through the subsequent six songs, the band struggle through what is – at least to the ears of this skyline swine in the Circle – the worst sound heard at a professional gig in 25 years.
Whether through English unflappability or obliviousness (it transpires it’s the latter), they drive on until, on “Killing of a Flashboy” – their outrageously great B-side from 1994 – everything flows. This, I presume, is the moment that Roger Daltrey, of all people, complains to Suede’s soundman that it’s “too loud”, much to bassist Mat Osman’s delight when he’s told about it afterwards.
Funny what absence does to the heart. When Suede played their farewell shows in 2003, few beyond the devoted seemed to care. Since they announced this one-off concert, everyone I know has been insane with excitement. I vomit three times before showtime from nerves-by-proxy (there were, admittedly, contributory factors).
Tonight Suede remind us, in considerable style, why they were one of only two British rock bands in the early Nineties worth giving an Eartha Kitt about. What Suede represented was nothing short of a rebellion. At a time of bearded grunge machismo and faux-Americanism, here was a band whose singer had the poise of a Piccadilly rent boy circa 1955, with a debut single which sounded like Adam and the Ants falling down the stairs while a drunk Mick Ronson played the queasy, teetering riff of his life, and with insouciantly provocative lyrics like “He writes the line/Wrote right down my spine/It says ‘Oh, do you believe in love there?'”
Brett Anderson emerged as a Byron of suburban ennui, a small-town romantic with a distinctive lexicon of nuclear skies and council homes, and Suede came to embody an entire lifestyle, figureheads for a generation of young, sexually ambiguous hedonists as celebrated and mythologised in such subcultural anthems as “Trash” and “The Beautiful Ones”. They also inadvertently kicked the door down for Britpop, but let’s not bear grudges.
Suede, with immense class, have played their big comeback card for the Teenage Cancer Trust, the realities of which are brought home by the girl sitting next to me, allowed out of hospital for one night, with an intravenous valve bandaged to each arm.
Anderson has regrown his fringe, the better to resemble the Brett we met on “The Drowners”. Others don’t need to try. Spookily, Neil Codling, the otherworldly keyboardist, has barely aged over the last decade.
Brett’s on ravenous form tonight, going commando in tight, grey Sta Prests (occasionally reaching down to readjust the boys in the barracks), falling to his knees, riding the monitor wedge, plunging into the photo pit to get mobbed and molested, booting bottles of Evian into the air, flipping his hip and clapping like slo-mo flamenco.
Packed into a narrow strip at the front of a cavernous stage, he and the band – reassembled in their late- Nineties incarnation – are on a burning mission to remind the world how great they were. A 21-song salute to their back catalogue takes in their cocky, talent-dripping debut album Suede, the baroque masterpiece Dog Man Star whose troubled birth-pangs culminated in the departure of guitarist Bernard Butler, Coming Up, the exuberant post-Butler classic which propelled them to festival-headlining status, the drug-damaged but patchily brilliant Head Music, a scattering from Sci-Fi Lullabies (the greatest B-sides album ever made), but nothing from the unloved final album A New Morning (though its saving-grace single “Obsessions” was on standby).
This quite astonishing return to the spotlight ends with “Saturday Night”, a song whose video featured then- unknown Ashes To Ashes star Keeley Hawes (that’s how long ago it all was). Anderson, stumbling to express how happy tonight has made him, jokes “Let’s do it again … in another seven years.” Something tells me Suede ain’t finished yet.
By Alexis Petridis
You wouldn’t know it from the reaction they receive at their reunion show for the Teenage Cancer Trust, but Suede are the great what if? of 1990s British rock.
For a thrilling, but fleeting moment, it looked like they might be the defining band of their era. They appeared to have everything: fantastic songs, a striking image, an incredible guitarist – Bernard Butler, who has clearly declined to take part in the reunion – and a singer who realised that a truly great pop star is often a piquantly ridiculous figure.
A cynic would question precisely how piquantly ridiculous Brett Anderson actually realised he was – at 42, he seems to have calmed down some of his more florid onstage gesticulations, which given that it takes him all of about three minutes to start jumping into the crowd and shaking hands, juggling with flaming clubs etc gives you some idea of just how florid his onstage gesticulations used to be – but there wasn’t much in the way of cynicism during the band’s rise to fame.
But Suede ended up being hugely influential, just not in the way people once thought. They defined the career trajectory that dozens of “firework bands” would follow: catapulted to stardom by a wildly overheated music press, as exciting as they would ever be on their debut single, the victims of diminishing returns after.
You get a hint of the diminishing returns in their set tonight.
There’s no doubt that latterday songs like Can’t Get Enough don’t have the same impact as the tracks from their imperial phase, when they could throw something as good as Killing Of A Flash Boy away on a B-side, but it’s all mitigated by the ferocity with which the band play everything.
If the audience hysteria doesn’t suggest that this is a band that split up in the face of widespread public indifference only seven years ago, and seemed to have been largely forgotten ever since, you could probably work out as much from their performance.
The legendary insouciant cool of the keyboard player, Neil Codling, is still much in evidence – whenever he’s not playing, he stares into the audience, wearing the expression of a man who wishes he’d brought a book with him – but there’s hint of real hunger about their intensity: they play like a band determined to prove a point.
You could argue they sound better than they did at their commercial peak. Ironically, they had their biggest hits in the football’s-coming-home summer of 1996, but they somehow already seemed like a band awkwardly out of time, reminiscent of the years before Oasis. Tonight, there’s something vigorously alive and in the moment about Metal Mickey and Animal Nitrate.
Weirdly, given that they’re relying on songs nearly 20 years old, the power emanating from the stage isn’t purely nostalgic. Whatever their past, they sound like a band who might conceivably have a future.
Not So Young … but reformed Suede can still go hell for leather
By Rick Pearson
“Good evening, we’re Suede,” announced frontman Brett Anderson midway through his band’s reunion show at the Royal Albert Hall, just in case anyone in the audience was still in any doubt as to who these trendy fortysomethings were.
Anderson might also have elaborated that Suede are a seminal British guitar band who, after winning the Mercury Prize for their self-titled debut in 1993, released a string of critically-acclaimed albums and enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic.
However, as the smattering of empty seats around the venue testified, seven years after disbanding, Suede have become Britpop’s forgotten group. Last night’s hit-strewn set, part of the Teenage Cancer Trust series, provided little clues as to why this should be. At 42, Anderson’s angular fringe and high cheekbones are still intact, as is his voice — a spooky tenor that echoed David Bowie on the set-opener She.
After Trash’s epic chorus had initiated the first of many singalongs from an adoring crowd, things threatened to get primal with the snarling riff of Animal Nitrate.
Combining the bludgeoning beats of Simon Gilbert with the “is he, isn’t he?” homo-eroticism of Anderson’s lyrics, it was classic Suede and had lost none of its energy 17 years on.
The same could be said of Anderson himself. Once the epitome of arty aloofness, he’d transformed into a fist-pumping, pogoing, party-pleaser of a frontman — although you still wouldn’t leave him alone with your daughter.
If Anderson’s charisma couldn’t prevent So Young sounding somewhat optimistic, then Beautiful Ones remained a timeless slice of euphoric indie-rock. “Let’s do it again in another seven years’ time,” said Anderson. Sooner, please.
Suede play Teenage Cancer Trust Show at Royal Albert Hall
The newly-reunited Suede played a headline show last night (March 24) at London‘s Royal Albert Hall as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust‘s series of gigs at the London venue.
Dressed in a black shirt and tight fitting jeans, the band’s frontman Brett Anderson said little throughout the hit-packed set, but took the time to dedicate ‘He’s Gone’ to a friend called Jessie, who he told the crowd had died three weeks ago.
Singing parts of ‘Heroine’ and ‘The Next Life’ on his knees in the prayer position, Anderson went down towards the front row for ‘So Young’, leaning back on the sold-out audience.
Following a massive standing ovation for 1992 single ‘Metal Mickey’, a grinning, visibly moved Anderson surveyed the crowd, telling them: “We haven’t finished yet!”
The band finished their set with 1996 hit ‘Beautiful Ones’ but returned for a three more songs, including an acoustic ‘The Living Dead’.
“I don’t have anything to say about this, except that it’s been fun,” said Anderson after playing ‘The 2 of Us’ during the rapturously received encore.
Referring to how long it had been since the band last performed, he added: “I feel very happy to be here tonight. Let’s do it again in another seven years time.”
For the complete review of the gig click on the pictures below and zoom in to read!