Bernard Butler, The Garage, Highbury Corner, London N5 (0171-607 1818) 8pm
Bernard Butler, The Garage, Highbury Corner, London N5 (0171-607 1818) 8pm

The ex-Suede guitar man and songwriter has been hailed as one of the best songwriters since The Smiths' Johnny Marr (who, I am reliably informed, is no relation of our esteemed Andrew). After his collaboration with David McAlmont, the boy's done good with his first solo album (above). All those people who said he'd be nothing without McAlmont will have to eat their words. Although there's a deal of Smiths- style gloom, it doesn't collapse into downright depression and there's far more romance within it than anyone could have anticipated. (Everyone attributed that element to McAlmont.) Commentators have also expressed surprise at the laid-back solo performance style of this notorious perfectionist - something his career to date would not seem to indicate. A reliable source has further pointed out that with his new haircut he's even quite cute.

David Benedict

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