Suede Live at The Olympia Theatre Monday 28th of October 2013
Suede returned to The Olympia Theatre this bank holiday Monday following a two and a half-year absence from the venue since they played a three-night stint of nostalgia gigs in May 2011. Those gigs cemented the fact that Irish music fans still yearned for Brett Anderson and Co’s modern take on glam-rock. Several years later Suede return with their critically acclaimed comeback album ‘Bloodsports’ in tow and a limited edition career-spanning vinyl box-set freshly nestling on record store shelves.
Suede cut urbane figures as they emerge onstage seemingly dressed head to toe in black through the darkness save for front man Brett Anderson who strides on slightly behind the band dressed in a white shirt, instantly focusing the eye upon one of British rock’s most entrancing performers. Like David Bowie and Morrissey before him Anderson has a strident sexual mystique, an effortless cool and a heightened zeal for theatrical performance, backed up by a powerful, unique voice that’s pliable to gritty highrise glam and triumphant wise-cracking rock ‘n’ roll whilst also being palpably poignant on sorrow-clad piano ballads.
A revamped version of b-side The Big Time starts proceedings in an unexpected haze of reverberating tremolo guitar as the fan favourite is given an Americana makeover with favourable results. Anderson quickly proves himself an adroit performer moving from the standing still smokey jazz delivery of The Big Time to the energetic delivery of Barriers which harks back to Suede’s original sound. Anderson’s patented dance moves rouse the crowd as the volume swells and the band attempts to conquer the old with a trio of material from their new album. Snowblind and comeback single It Starts and Ends With You are lapped up by the crowd. Anderson doesn’t miss an opportunity to connect with the fans emphasising their importance to proceedings with vigorous hand-gestures screaming “Sing it!” for the chorus of It Starts And Ends With You.
The sing-along vibe continues through Trash with Anderson holding up his microphone to The Olympia’s boxes encouraging their occupants to sing along. The band are visibly pumped for Animal Nitrate and the crowd eagerly responds as Anderson hurls his microphone to the ground leading the crowd through his signature double-clap dance routine for the first time and he treats them to a circus act as he swings his microphone vigorously throughout Filmstar. Sabotage sees Suede plough a darker furrow with elements of ‘Disintegration’ -era The Cure audible throughout its verses before an Edge-esque riff lifts the gloom through the choruses. Brett Anderson stalks the security rail for The Drowners grasping at fans as he goes.
Not many bands could safely perform more than one b-side live but Suede do it easily with Killing Of A Flashboy – eagerly inhaled by the crowd – and follow it up with a third in the form of My Dark Star just as eagerly received with the crowd singing both word for word. A duo of piano ballads showcase the band’s versatility and Anderson’s capabilities as a vocalist as he moves from an impressive baritone to captivating high notes on The 2 Of Us. The night’s fourth and final b-side Another No One leaves The Olympia Theatre hushed as Anderson sings with only a piano for accompaniment. As the band returns so does the glam as Anderson races for the crowd once again during new single For the Strangers. So Young and Metal Mickey from Suede’s début album satisfy before Beautiful Ones sees Anderson lead the crowd though a “la la la la” sing-along before returning for a one song encore of New Generation, one of the highlights from their 1994 ‘Dog Man Star’ album.
It’s notable that none of the material from the performance was drawn from either ‘Head Music’ or ‘A New Morning’ with Suede happy to omit hits like She’s In Fashion in favour of not one but four b-sides, such is their fans’ veracious appetite for Suede’s vintage back catalogue. And no doubt if they ever decide to tour b-sides collection ‘Sci Fi Lullabies’ attendance will be mandatory for any self-respecting Suede fan. Such a bond between band and fan is a rare thing these days. It’s easy to see why Suede fans have taken ‘Bloodsports’ to heart as it contains songs that match those from the band’s past. Tonight’s performance puts Suede in contention for gig of the year such was the vitality and precision on display. Anderson, however has secured himself frontman of the year with a simply unparalleled and truly beguiling performance. With Suede in such form any chance to see them should not be missed.
Suede Photo Gallery
Photos: Aaron Corr