Suede, what a band they have turned out to be. Not content with already possessing a swag of bone fide classic songs in their catalogue, they stormed back this year with new album “Bloodsports”, a rousing and wonderful return to their glory days.
A run of critically lauded gigs in the UK, has seen them rise from half forgotten heroes from the Blur/Oasis era, to something approaching national treasures. So it’s against this background, that tonight’s gig is eagerly anticipated.
They don’t disappoint.
Taking to the stage, still looking impossibly lithe at 45, Brett Anderson unleashes “Faultlines”, the start of a 20 song set-list. It’s refrain of “Celebrate the Pale Dawn”, neatly distilling the essence of his songwriting appeal, all faded glamour and elegiac decadence.
By the time the band reach the barn storming “Barriers” the lead single off “Bloodsports”, the band well and truly have the audience in the palm of their hands. Jubilant faces of the surprisingly young crowd, echo that of Anderson, clearly enjoying himself, as a mass sing along follows. Strutting and pouting across the stage, with almost indecent energy, and an occasional dash of Jagger as he sashays across the stage, Anderson is more than ever the perfect Suede front-man. Several Morrissey-esque interludes see him getting up and close to the adoring fans at stage front, clearly reveling in their enthusiastic rapture.
With 20 odd years of song writing behind them, Suede have at their disposal a dizzying array of songs, so we get the glam rockers ‘So Young’, ‘Animal Nitrate’ and ‘Metal Mickey’ from the early Britpop era, through to the second career high points ‘Trash’, ‘Filmstar’ and ‘Electricity” and onto ‘It Starts and Ends With You’, a song from Bloodsports that can easily hold it’s own, even against the high standards of it’s predecessors. They can do tender too, with a down tempo “What Are You Not Telling Me”, it’s insistent refrain tugging on the heart strings.
Next to me, middle aged men, looking on with a glint of moisture in their eyes, perhaps remembering their own glory days and lost loves (or maybe it’s just me), rub shoulders with younger fans, enthusiastically taking the band as their own. The affection is returned with Brett declaring that Singapore is always a special destination for the band, and despite being a rock cliché, for once it rings true.
Twenty years on from “So Young” , Suede are no longer in their first flush of youth, but have achieved that rare phenomenon, a triumphant return with both a stunning album, and live performances that trade nostalgia for something all together more relevant and exciting. Long may they continue.