Saturday 24 March 2018


John Meagher

John Meagher


Olympia, Dublin

Twenty years ago, Suede played a now legendary debut Dublin show in the Tivoli Theatre. Then, the young Londoners were arguably the hottest band on the planet and they fed off the maniacal energy of the crowd.

Fast-forward two decades, and the band are back – older, for sure, but in the case of frontman Brett Anderson as up for it as they were in their pomp. It helps that after a handful of weak albums and poorly received solo efforts and side projects, Suede have an exceptional new album in tow.

Bloodsports offers a reminder of former glories, but isn't slavishly in thrall to the past – and that's exactly how Suede are tonight.

Right from the off, when they emerge from a cloud of dry ice, they look like a band revitalised as they launch into excellent songs from the new album, Barriers and It Starts and Ends With You.

Then, it's on to a blistering salvo of old, thrilling songs – Trash, Animal Nitrate and Filmstar – that sound as vital today as when they were first released.

The band – especially guitarist Richard Oakes, who replaced original member Bernard Butler early on – are in remarkable form, but you can't take your eyes off Anderson, who exudes the sort of charisma that made him one of the most talked-of frontmen of his generation.

This Thin White Duke employs every trick in the book in order to win the affections of the crowd as he prowls the stage, leaps off the drum riser, sinks to his knees and – on several occasions – pours himself into the audience.

He has such cocksure presence, is so perfectly cast in the classic frontman mould, that you can't help but feel that most singers in bands are risibly ill-suited to the task.

Besides Bloodsports, the remainder of the songs are culled from the band's striking first three albums, Suede, Dog Man Star and Coming Up, while a handful are taken from their well-received B-sides double album Sci-Fi Lullabies.

Wisely, material from flaccid albums Head Music and A New Morning is eschewed.

The tempo drops for a wonderfully theatrical version of The 2 of Us but is ratcheted right up for the giddy, intoxicating rush of So Young and Metal Mickey. And Beautiful Ones is as much about the crowd participation as it is about Anderson's delivery.

There's just one song in the encore, New Generation, but nobody is likely to feel short-changed. For 80 minutes, this rejuvenated quintet give everything.

The years are rolled back, but they're no nostalgia outfit: the Suede of 2013 are in ruddy good health and their second coming has been worth the wait.

Irish Independent

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