Suede, Barfly, London
It’s probably quite fair to say that, a few years ago, the five members of Suede would not have imagined themselves back onstage together promoting a new album.
Three years ago they reformed, without guitarist Bernard Butler, for a one-off charity gig – their first in seven years – at the Royal Albert Hall. It led to their biggest ever non-festival show, at the O2 Arena, a European tour, sold-out shows, headline slots at festivals, and the re-release of their five studio albums. Later this month, Suede will play to 10,000 at London’s vast Alexandra Palace.
And now here they are, playing their smallest ever gig, to 200-odd fans and XFM competition winners for the charity War Child. The room is packed with thirty- and fortysomethings brimming with nostalgia for the Nineties, when the band lit the way for Britpop. Not that the feeling of nostalgia lasts in this tiny, sweaty Camden room. Far from it. From the moment Suede open with an energised performance of “Barriers” – the first release from their forthcoming new album, Bloodsports, their first in 11 years – which swells with hook-laden guitars and pulsing bass and drums, they prove themselves vital and contemporary – and far removed from a band feeding off former glories.
Singer Brett Anderson, now 45, still plays the coquettish frontman, emphasising his familiarly camp vocals. He can’t get close enough to his fans. There are no security men at the front, and Anderson stands at the stage lip, swinging the microphone when he’s not bouncing energetically, then climbing atop monitors, gripping many an outstretched hand, or opening wide his arms, soaking up the adulation that is readily bestowed upon him. The set begins with his white shirt marginally unbuttoned; by the end, it is open to his navel.
There are a few new songs tonight, of which the yearning, anthemic “For the Strangers” is a crowd-uniting highlight – but it’s a show filled with rarities for the fans. The 80-minute set is packed with songs from their debut, self-titled album, with which they burst onto the scene in 1993, and B-sides – such as “My Insatiable One” and the stomping, brutally energetic “Killing of a Flash Boy” – for which they were as well-known for as their singles. Those singles – “Filmstar”, “Animal Nitrate”, “Trash” and the sing-along finale “Beautiful Ones” – are all delivered with fresh exuberance and passion. The band leave a crowd energised.
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
Noel Gallagher 'cannot wait' to hear Oasis-inspired One Direction album but rants about 'pointless' Tidal and Spotify
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils