AND ON YOU MY TATTOO WILL BE BLEEDING. AND THE NAME WILL STAIN. (SUEDE, THE WILD ONES)
There was a lot of internet chatter in the months leading up to Glasto 2015. Far too much of it focused on the main Saturday night headliner, the polarizing subject of a petition, the stage bomber at award shows, the former darling of the hipster media who’d gone and married into America’s most annoying reality family. This performance was tanked with an unforgettable sample of Queen’s We Are the Champions while the performer revealed he didn’t even know the chorus of an anthem he was peddling as a sure winner. NME, in its gasping final breaths before turning into a free celeb rag, would call this gig, without shame, “A masterclass”.
Meanwhile, on the John Peel stage at the same time, 90’s Glam gods Suede were making a triumphant, if under-reported, return off of some feverishly successful warm up gigs in early advance of their forthcoming album, Night Thoughts (out January 22, 2016).
Our friends at Isolation Records saw one of the pre Glasto warm up gigs (at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea – 25th June 2015) and reviewed it warmly and with the astounded quality of the miracle it is:
“This is the song that captures the very essence of the band, the song that unites us, and the words we live every day. “We’re trash, you and me, we’re the litter on the breeze, we’re the lovers on the streets.” Suede have the power to harvest the hearts of the dispossessed; they are the inheritors of Bowie and Roxy, the early punk scene, Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Cure. Even, bless ’em, The Libertines in their early days. As the band conclude with ‘Beautiful Ones’ it is close to a religious experience. In it together. To the end.
There’s few bands can match the grandeur of Suede when they decelerate to play their slower songs. These seem cavernous and bleed emotion, yet still nothing prepares the audience for the magic of the encore, stolen from DogManStar, as ‘The 2 Of Us’ drifts into ‘The Asphalt World’ and ‘Still Life’. Perhaps it is easy to overlook the second reason for Suede’s enduring power; most of their music is simply stunning: a billion miles from the mainstream yet touching it; alienating yet resonant; lost but embracing.”
BBC, at least, did not disappoint during Glasto. Most of Suede’s set was streamed online and still lives for now on Youtube. Brett Anderson was ever elegant, reed thin, and full of wired energy. He left it all on the stage like he was fighting for his life, and maybe he was, in a world where all this art and majesty doesn’t rate covers and column inches for days, but is, instead, marginalized.
The band was immense, the guitars rising and ringing, tirelessly, like something from another and better world. The vocal performance (and ad libs with fans) was breathless, intimate, and beautiful. The crowd heaved with love, and a dip into it from the star was responded to with warmly held hands and sincere, gentle, embraces. At one point they held him where he stood, balanced over the crowd. The music is indescribable for this star-struck writer. So the video is embedded here.
All this Glam, sexy, drug-addled music that was detached, almost too cool for words back in 1993, has revealed itself through time and repeat plays to be about everything underneath that posturing and self-destruction. All the poetry and blood of messy life. All the compromises for survival that were never top of mind at 25.
The BBC aired this performance as an alternate narrative to the other one that sucked all the air out of the media, American-style. Now we must run with it. Here we have a brilliant band of survivors and heroes, one that needs to remain, that the world sorely needs. Let’s welcome back to the road one of the best, unclassifiable, misfit, gorgeous sounding bands that, through this upcoming tour, will inspire reams of kids who’ve never seen or heard anything like it in real life, leaving them transformed in their wake. Leaving them to start 100 new bands.
Suede can change the world again: with their just announced major UK tour, the album that’s been slowly spun out for fans at a delicious and graceful pace, and just off the well-timed, flawlessly executed gigs in beautiful halls that befit the man possessing the singular voice that we unabashedly call Angel. We hope a world tour announcement may be close behind.
Suede’s Facebook page has all their upcoming tour dates announced so far.
By Jacqueline Howell