Bristol O2 Academy Review
23 April 2019
Submitted by: Jane Marshall
Bristol 02 Academy
It’s 27 years since Suede graced the cover of Melody Maker, pictured under a career-launching headline hailing them "the best new band in Britain”.
That appearance kickstarted what was to become an influential new musical scene known as Britpop.
The band has since survived changes of personnel and a brief split, while frontman Brett Anderson has conquered his well-documented drug and alcohol addictions, penning his Coal Black Mornings memoir last year to much acclaim.
And now they're back on the road for a short, sell-out British tour to support the release of their eighth studio album, The Blue Hour, which has picked up some surprisingly favourable reviews for a band still creating exciting new music.
Anderson's trademark foppish black fringe may now be flecked with grey but he looks remarkably well preserved for 51 considering the excess and debauchery of his twenty-something self.
Now living a far quieter life near Frome with his wife and children, he now regards Bristol as the closest to playing a home town gig.
Although several tracks from the new album were aired and well received, most notably a soaring version of Invisibles, which segued into Flytipping, this was a career-spanning set that gave the fans exactly what they had paid for.
Although the rest of the band deserve credit, it was a masterclass in showmanship from Anderson, who was born to be on stage and in the spotlight. He's a remarkable frontman who had the fans eating out of his hand all night.
He ran around the stage with the energy of somebody half his age. By the mid-way point during The Drowners, he had flung himself into the front of the sweaty mass, held aloft by the crowd and still singing in the spotlight, his black shirt ripped in several places by pawing fans.
He barely stopped for breath apart from when he sat down with an acoustic guitar, drenched in sweat, to perform an acoustic version of The Big Time, an early b-side which generated one of the biggest pints-in-the-air audience singalongs of the night.
The hits kept coming with a carousel of crowd-pleasers We Are The Pigs, So Young, Metal Mickey, Trash and Animal Nitrate.
Saturday Night was another song slowed down and performed acoustically - this time accompanied by ace guitarist Richard Oakes - and a blistering version of early b-side To The Birds was given a rare outing, much to the appreciation of diehards.
But it was a frenetic encore of Beautiful Ones and Life Is Golden, which a misty-eyed Anderson dedicated to his young son, that brought this exhilarating show to it close after 100 minutes.
They may have been around for three decades but Suede's resurrection is still gathering momentum and they are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago.