WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE?: Eventim Apollo
WHEN?: 12/10, tour runs until 14/10/18 (more dates likely, see link below)
SETLIST: As One; Wastelands; Outsiders; We Are The Pigs; So Young; Heroine; The Drowners; He Is Dead; Tides; Roadkill; Sabotage; Dolly; It Starts And Ends With You; Filmstar; Metal Mickey; Trash; Animal Nitrate; Pantomime Horse; The 2 Of Us; The Invisibles; Flytipping; Beautiful Ones; Life Is Golden
Ask us what our favourite ever gig is and we’d probably say Suede at Portsmouth Pyramids in 1993 because it was the 1st time we felt we had ever found our tribe.
- Read on for reasons including which song Suede played for the 1st time in 26 years
You know that feeling when your favourite band appears to mirror you, is breaking big and there’s almost electricity in the air as the adoration from the devoted audience fuels the majestic performance of the objects of its desire?
We read recently that touring their first album, Suede liked to air Wuthering Heights immediately before going onstage (Cloudbusting is played shortly before the band’s arrival tonight) : lead singer Brett Anderson placing Kate Bush in his personal trinity of utterly English ancestors, alongside Bowie and Morrissey.
Fast forward to November 2015 and the band debuted its 7th album proper (and accompanying film) Night Thoughts from behind a curtain at Camden Roundhouse during what was our favourite gig of that year. We even referred to its existence as a response to the question: ‘What would Kate Bush do?’
And now they arrive tonight at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo – the venue for Bush’s Before The Dawn live return in 2014 – for the 1st of 2 dates with a new album, The Blue Hour (is it the 60 minutes before sunset?), which is a step on from its predecessor into a countryside setting with a folk horror atmosphere where their Bernard Butler-esque (although no writing credits for him), cinematic soundtrack imaginations have been allowed to run riot.
Lyrically the album could be peak Bush: the concept could be from a child’s eyes, is a child missing or is Brett musing on his own lost childhood?
Musically the album is familiar Suede territory but there’s little to match the poppers-rush and thrashed guitar abandon of their biggest hits, which frame highlights from the new album here. Life Is Golden is probably the most commercial of its contents. Have Suede grown up too fast for their fans?
Brett looks wiry and hungry and disappears into the throng at the front of the stage during The Drowners where the ‘You’re taking me over’ refrain seems all too literal.
Elsewhere during this breakneck set he’s on all fours, barking at the audience and by the end he seems to have near sung himself hoarse. Let’s hope he’s saved a little of his voice for tomorrow night’s return to this venue.
There’s even time for a little surprise with the unveiling of a track the band has not played since 1992, Dolly. Brett even gets a moment alone in the spotlight to strum a beautiful and acoustic Pantomime Horse.
The Blue Hour may be a little too Dog Man Star rocks out for our tastes but there was still much shaking of bits to the hits tonight. ‘Over 21’? We weren’t much over 21 when we 1st saw Suede and now that was over 21 years ago but they remain a thrilling live band with always several surprises in store.