Suede / BC Camplight, Brighton Dome, 23rd April 2019
Suede… the story behind the band’s rise, fall and emphatic comeback has been told many times. Still, there’s an intrigue as to what they might do next. With latest album The Blue Hour released last year and a huge tour underway, one thing’s for sure – Suede are far from done yet.
Opening support on this tour has largely come from the much lauded BC Camplight. The man behind the tunes and the piano is US born singer-songwriter Brian Christinzio; his tale of starting a new life in the UK, gaining a record deal then being deported before winning back his right to live here sounds like a fine set of lyrical fantasy but in this case is all true. Having had to pull a couple of dates through illness, it was good to see him back and well, providing an eclectic start to the evening with tracks from his latest album Deportation Blues.
The anticipation for Suede’s arrival on stage is met with a suitably atmospheric outpouring of smoke and dramatic lighting, from which the band emerge to the strains of haunting new track As One. The capacity crowd, many of whom have been there since doors, are rewarded with an ample dosage of songs spanning an incredible 30 years. It’s not long before some older material surfaces in the set – We Are The Pigs and So Young reminders that there is a back catalogue here worthy of its place in the music history books. As a frontman, Brett Anderson appears to have fallen into Neverland as his endless energy and off stage excursions seem no less enthusiastic then they ever were.
Anderson gives a thank you to the crowd, rightly noting that without a great crowd it’s hard to have a great gig. And the respect is clearly mutual; there are moments where he talks to the audience or during stripped back songs (Everything Will Flow / Europe Is Our Playground) that you could hear a pin drop, no background chat, no need, still it’s a welcome change to the annoying conversational hum that often accompanies performers. But then Suede have never been your average band. Oddly labelled with the Britpop tag in the early days, their refusal to conform has seen them become something of an institution on their own terms, an institution that puts on a show to be remembered as it turns out. After a quick break, the band return to finish the evening with a huge singalong to The Beautiful Ones followed by closing track Life Is Golden, a track that Anderson says he wrote for his son but which it is likely everyone there is happy to take as a message for themselves. From the start, Suede were something a bit different, something a bit special. Turns out they still are.
Words and photos by Siobhan
25th April 2019