Live Review of Suede at Nottingham Rock City 28th March 2013

Over two decades on from their last Nottingham date, though many things have changed in and around Suede just as much remains the same. 1992's show at the Nottingham polytechnic came before the departure of original lead guitarist Bernard Butler and the release of their self-titled debut full-length, but by then Brett Anderson's ragtag army had already amassed a cult following not dissimilar to their fellow proponents of buzz-saw guitars and glam imagery, the Manic Street Preachers. It was perhaps the beginning of the ascent in earnest of the band's first peak and, against all odds, their return twenty one years later could be the beginning of a second.


For whilst the greatest reactions from the crowd are unsurprisingly garnered from the earlier selections of their back-catalogue, the punchy 'Animal Nitrate', bleary-eyed indie disco staple 'Beautiful Ones' and B-side 'Killing Of A Flashboy', 2013's "Bloodsports" has the consistency and swagger of their first trio of full-lengths and, more importantly, their live show retains the same vitality. Brett prowls the stage with an undeniable animal magnetism, a face increasingly like Stuart Pearce levied with child abuse charges but the moves of Elvis on the right kind of drugs. He swan-dives into the crowd on numerous occasions, encouraging the audience to take over vocals and reappearing each time with a shirt buttoned down further. 

Though surprisingly not sold-out, it is the crowd that makes the night almost as much as the band, equally adoring of new material such as the opening couplet of 'Barriers' and 'Snowblind' as the classics, and impressively attentive to the night's support, something which could never be said of the cult of their welsh counterparts. Here, of course, it helps that Kettering's Temples, a relentlessly pounding psychedelic force, are one of the country's best new bands. They approach late-sixties revisionism from a similar angle to Wolf People and Dungen but abstain from the wig-outs that often dilute their power, and on most nights they would steal the show.

It is interesting to compare Suede's reformation to that of fellow indie darlings My Bloody Valentine. Both reformed after an extended disappearance, with MBV's driving force entering a period of creative silence whilst Brett Anderson created work that was worth less than nothing, and both reformations have brought calls of "being in it for the money", but whilst the Irish shoegazers haven't given a definitive argument against this theory, you get the feeling that 'Ole Anderson and co have retained the belief and love of their early years. Compare this 'rehearsal' to the recent My Bloody Valentine rehearsal show, with its false starts, poor sound and absence of stage presence there is only one winner. Suede mean it.

Jordan Dowling

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