sun 19/05/2019

Suede, Brighton Dome review - Brett Anderson gives it full frontman chutzpah | reviews, news & interviews

Suede, Brighton Dome review - Brett Anderson gives it full frontman chutzpah

Suede, Brighton Dome review - Brett Anderson gives it full frontman chutzpah

Nineties guitar pop juggernaut seasons hits old and new with a hefty dose of charisma

Keeping cool in black'n'white

Suede finish “Sabotage”. It’s a mid-paced, elegant number set off by swirling, circling central guitar. Frontman Brett Anderson hangs from his microphone stand on the left apron of the stage to deliver it, with the lights down low. Afterwards he paces back to his bandmates, body taut, hair a-flop. He tells the audience he’s been involved in a long ongoing experiment; “standing in front of VOX AC30 amps for 30 years.” The resulting problem, he adds in a rising shout, “is that I can’t hear you.”

It’s a showbiz shot, dryly delivered, but it works. He keeps coming back to this, demanding a louder audience response until, eventually, amid the roaring that follow’s the band’s emblematic pre-Britpop hit “Animal Nitrate”, he leaps on the central monitors, arms outstretched, bathing in it. “That’s what I’m talking about – that’s why you never give it up,” he announces with a smile.

The crowd adore him. At one point, as he precedes a poetic solo acoustic version of the 1996 B-side “Europe is Our Playground” with a self-depreciating anecdote, a male voice bawls, “You’re a beautiful human being!” Clad in belted black skinny jeans and a svelte open neck black shirt, he’s certainly a fit one. .

Since their successful return from a seven year hiatus in 2013, Suede have proved themselves an ongoing creative entity, with commercial success greeting their new music. It’s something Anderson refers to at the concert’s very end, scoffing at Nineties nostalgia acts and closing with “Life is Golden”, a song from last autumn’s Top 5 album, The Blue Hour that’s dedicated to his son.

However, whether on two decade-old monsters such as the ebullient “Trash” or more recent fare such as “Outsiders”, Suede locate a dishevelled romance amid imagery of wannabe-doomed lovers and cheap, desperate youthful rebellions into style. Anderson owns it all. He adopts flamenco dance stomping for “She”; spotlit, he flops onto his back at the stage lip as “So Young” trails off, his sprawled arm touching that of a reaching fan; he swings his microphone around his head or uses its lead as a whip; for 1992 debut single “The Drowners” he wades into the crowd and they won’t easily let him go; he dedicates a song to the Suede devotees known as the Insatiable Ones who travel to every show.

With a voice that occasionally sounds like David Bowie imitating Vincent Price, especially on the more portentous voiceover segments of songs, Anderson could be a cartoon figure but behind his waspish asides and silent film star stage manner, a devotion to his craft and his fans bleeds through, an unexpected warmth from this supreme Nineties poseur. That he’s accompanied by a well-oiled, rock’n’roll outfit who carry him with practiced ease boosts everything. Together, the five of them ramp up encore hit “Beautiful Ones” until its “la-la-la” crowd chorus reverberates to the rafters.

Below: Watch Suede live acoustic session for Absolute Radio, December 2018
 
The rest of the band emanate lively bounce but, in many ways, Anderson is The Suede Show

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters