Wednesday 13 December 2017

Review: Plenty of new tricks from old masters Suede

Rock : Suede, Olympia, Dublin

Brett Anderson of Suede performs on stage in 2013
Brett Anderson of Suede performs on stage in 2013
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Before they had a record deal or Britpop became any kind of cultural force, Suede were infamously lauded as the best new band in Britain.

You'd expect them to look at the endless succession of 90s indie bands reforming and wonder if they'd spent longer than seven years on hiatus, they could be headlining festivals and riding a lucrative wave of nostalgia.

But Brett Anderson and company always considered themselves outsiders that never quite fitted in. Rather than perform a string of hits from their heyday, they audaciously perform their latest album Night Thoughts in full and in sequence.

It is accompanied by a specially commissioned film directed by Libertines photographer Roger Sargent. Suede perform from behind a screen, which is a bold move, but works wonders.

Night Thoughts transpires to be an extremely strong album and easily betters their recent output. The lead single Outsiders, which they've described as "a rallying cry for the excluded", is one of the best things they've released in years.

They split the set into two halves. After showcasing their latest album, they unleash a bumper selection of hit singles and old fan favourites after a short interval.

Animal Nitrate, Metal Mickey and So Young are a reminder just how strange, different and beautifully dangerous their debut album sounded back in the post-Nirvana mists of 1992. Trash and Beautiful Ones recall their mid-90s heyday.

Anderson looks like he hasn't aged a day and has done some kind of Faustian pact to preserve his cheekbones and skinny frame. He sings a section of Everything Will Flow acapella and it is a spine-tingling moment.

Suede deliver a textbook lesson in doing something new and daring, but still sending everybody home happy. We're accustomed to bands playing their classic albums live. Indeed, Suede themselves ran through their first three records in this very theatre in 2011, but playing a newly released album in its entirety is a hard trick to pull off. Suede make it look easy, which goes to show just how good they are.

The outsiders still have all the best tunes.

Irish Independent

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