Great Hall, Cardiff University Students Union, Fri 26 Apr
By their own admission, it’s been a long time since Suede have graced a Cardiff stage, so this gig was approached with slight trepidation on my part. Having never seen Suede, I find myself asking: am I better off just watching the videos and remembering a band in their prime? Or do I take a leap of faith and see if they still have it? Leap of faith it is. There’s been nothing but praise for their musical output since reforming in 2010 and the Great Hall is busy as I’ve ever seen it, so clearly they still have fanbase in place, but how is their live performance these days?
They open, as latest album The Blue Hour does, with As One, showing that singer Brett Anderson’s voice is in fine form. A mellow start, which really picks up when We Are The Pigs is rolled out with Anderson swirling the mic around his head like (I’m informed) a sexy snake hipped cowboy. Anthemic Britrock favourite Metal Mickey keeps the tempo going and it’s apparent that the band are enjoying this as much as the crowd, with beaming smiles from all involved.
Dramatic newer track Tides builds into a crescendo of emotional outpouring, before we’re yanked back to 1992 again with the haunting She’s Not Dead. With guitarist Richard Oakes reaching for his acoustic guitar, the band throw the Cardiff crowd a curveball with a beautiful, stripped-down rendition of Stay Together which feels like a very special moment for everybody in attendance. The melancholic, keyboard-heavy tones of Indian Strings are driven by Simon Gilbert’s powerful drum work, but it’s Trash and Animal Nitrate in quick succession that get the entire place bouncing and singing their hearts out.
Anderson, armed with an acoustic guitar, takes centre stage alone for Another No One before the band rejoin him for soaring, pre-encore closer Flytipping. As the crowd bay for more, Suede bound back on to The Beautiful Ones and play us out with the uplifting message that is Life Is Golden. I began this review questioning whether they could still deliver: the answer is an overwhelming yes.
words CHRIS ANDREWS photos KEVIN PICK