Thursday, 21 January 2010

623 SUEDE, Razorlight, Bristol Academy, Tuesday 9 December 2003

Another name from the past for our 3rd gig in 5 days; this time however it was a final farewell rather than a revival. Suede, having decided they are "out of step" with the state of modern rock, are calling it a day with a final "Greatest Hits" tour, so we felt it only right and proper to take this last opportunity to see one of the 90's most enduring bands. We nearly didn't, though - the car wouldn't start after 2 days of inactivity, and we needed a jump start from Rachel's brother and dad! Finally got it going, however, and we carefully drove down a foggy M4, hitting the venue at 8.

The place was already very busy and we'd missed the first band - none other than Ambulance Ltd. the same band we missed in Boston! Maybe we'll see them one day... Razorlight, second band on, had already taken the stage; a painfully young bunch of snotty reprobates, they played an intriguing set of jerky indie rock, full of energy and nervous tension, recalling the likes of Cuckoo and Glitterbox musically and Hot Hot Heat for the angst-ridden performance. The new single sounded good, and a sleazy set closer, recounting the story of a lady of the night, reminded me of "Here Comes The Judge" by 70's band The Vapors!

The place was heaving for the entrance of Suede at 9.30 - luckily our view, from our stage-left vantage point under the balcony stairs, stayed relatively big-bloke free.

Suede were great. Coming on to the robotic "Introducing The Band", they played a totally blistering set. They've long since held up a mirror to the sleazy underbelly of British society, creating vignettes full of sleaze, sex and trashy glamour over a Bowie-esque soundtrack, and tonight these qualities were displayed to their best effect. They positively rocketed through the first third of the set, Brett a committed, energetic frontman skilled in mass communication, with "Animal Nitrate" a highlight. Inevitably, they powered down for a haunting, thrillingly base and dark middle section, the touching narrative of "The Wild Ones" recalling the Thin White Duke's own "Sweet Thing". Then, just to round things off, they increased the tempo again - "New Generation" was brilliant and set the tone for a venomous final third.

As if to belie their impending split, they started the encore with a new number (!), the naughty "Sexmusic", Brett playfully repeating the taped, "music for sex, you like to have sex" line. A couple of other numbers could however scarcely prepare us for the climax of this splendid 1 1/2 hour set; their epic "Still Life", Brett's voice cutting loose for a spine-tingling finale of cinemascopic range and vision. So, not the singles start-to-end set we expected by the "Greatest Hits" tour appellation (indeed, no "Drowners" at all), but instead, a reprise of what made Suede great.

We'll miss them.

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