Edit this event
- ICA, London »
- Suede »
Suede’s poisonous love affair with the nineties’ musical populous may have waned in recent times, but the capital flash of their insatiable pop solvency is still alive and arse-slappingly well. Heralding the release of their 'Singles' compilation, this residency at the ICA sees each of their five LPs played over five nights, in order, around a side-serving of old and new favourites.
Tighter than the granddad shirt that adorns the toned Brett Anderson, the 300 Suedeheads packed into the ICA on night #2 cast a starkly different shadow to the mascara-d masses of yesteryear. But like Brett, who’s glistening under the sweat of sweet and sour reminiscence, growing older doesn’t mean growing up. Among the indie-luminaries out for 'Dogmanstar' appreciation night, are Justine Elastica, Erol Trash and dear old (Manics biographer) Simon Price. As the glorious indulgence of their classic second album unfolds amidst a sea of arching, mile-wide smiles of astonishment (at just how perfect songs like the Byron-laced ‘Heroine’ remain), there are no bigger fans in the room than Richard Oakes himself.
Nine years on, he remains the floppy-haired schoolboy recruited to replace original guitarist, Bernard Butler, and though the performance lacks the lavish orchestration which backed the record, Oaksy’s fret-play remains as excitable and energetic as Brett’s monitor stamping camp pomposity (of which there is much). Whilst the towering bassman, Matt Osman keeps to the shadows, Anderson’s trademark glam-stomping presence has its arms raised in utter defiance of it apparently not being 1995 anymore.
The gig is inevitably an ecstatic and emotional reminder of how much of a play for greatness Suede made back in the day. Amidst a nuclear sea of city-soiled sex and chemical referencing, singles like ‘We Are The Pigs’ and ‘New Generation’ still go toe to toe with anything The Smiths offered up, but it’s the tear-shredding slow songs that really bring the house down. ‘Black and Blue’ – never previously played live, is a poignantly desperate drug-addled lullaby, with Brett’s most operatic vocal moments pulled off immaculately over the twinkling piano. Similarly, ‘The 2 of Us’ is nothing short of heart-stoppingly beautiful.
The painful romanticism of the eight-minute epic, ‘The Asphalt World’ is what finally turns many a spine to dust. The tingling build to its two-minute, jaws to the floor guitar solo hangs timelessly and the whole place is totally silent. When it ends it’s like Bernard Butler leaving Suede all over again.
Two days later, 'Coming Up' – the band’s chart-topping 1996 LP – throws out any tears, trading them in for the ultimate glory days of peak-pop Suede, defying their ‘cult’ status by Top Of The Popping their sleazy pills to the masses. Recalling the greatest hits feel of the three minute wonders like ‘Trash’, ‘Lazy’ and their many other hip-jiggling anthems, naturally former keyboardist, Neil Codling’s fuzzy masterpiece ‘Starcrazy’ recalls a band at the very peak of their powers. Joyous.
Tracks like the eternal ‘Beautiful Ones’ still sound as joyous as they ever did, and without the sordid history that's tied to tracks like (Dogmanstar's) ‘The Power’ (which was famously devoid of any Bernard Butler playing), the balls-on-the-line playing that has earned the band their huge fanbase is in full evidence tonight. It's the less overplayed tracks like ‘Picnic By The Motorway’ and ‘The Chemistry Between Us’ which really alight the crowd, as do an array of perfectly chosen b-sides including the blissful ‘Sound Of The Streets’ and the epic ‘Europe Is Our Playground.’ Even the likes of new single ‘Attitude’ with its dirty Head Music-esq underlay, and fellow new track ‘Golden Gun’ are greeted with jubilant sing-a-longs.
As hard as you may try to deny it, Suede’s integral tie to indie-guitar music is truly indelible. Recounting two of the decade’s greatest LPs in such a fashion is a rare pleasure, and though it doubtlessly poses questions about where the band can go now, a cannon of such great tunes can never be forgotten in all the love and poison of London.
New single 'Attitude' is released 6 October on Epic.
- Watch: Suede, Foals, Richard Hawley, The Cribs, Everything Everything live for 6 Music
- Suede give away new song 'Barriers'
- Corona Capital Festival: DiS does Mexico City
- My Top 10 live shows of 2011 by Dom Gourlay
- In Photos: Latitude Festival 2011 @ Henham Park, Suffolk
- Latitude 2011: The DiS Review, Day Three
- Spotifriday #96 - This week on DiS as a playlist ft. EMA, Suede, Gold Panda + more
- Suede - Head Music (reissue)