Review: Suede – Live @ The Olympia, Dublin (May 24th, 2011)

Suede kicked of their 3 night residency of reunion gigs in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre by performing their genre defining, seminal, 1993 self-titled debut album Suede in its entirety. Eighteen years later, the songs are still fresh and authentic.  Although this is not the original line-up (with original guitarist turned super-producer Bernard Butler having refused the invitation to play. He instead opted to re-master tonight’s material and follow up album Dog Man Star) their was a certain amount of romance, in the air as the band took to the stage

Dublin quartet Sweet Jane had the unenviable job of support act, on such an emotional occasion for Suede fans. But they steadily won the crowd over, with their dark ephemeral, wall of sound. Lydia Des Dolles voice is a cross between Hope Sandoval and Bilinda Butcher while guitarist Danda Paxton’s voice adds a dark colour to the mist of grime   Their musical influences include The Jesus and Marychain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Iggy Pop and The Ramones.

The crowd sing lustfully along to a Sex Pistols track, as the lights dim and Suede swagger onto the stage, dressed head-to-toe in black. Led by drummer Simon Gilbert who appears to have been in cryostasis, all these years. In fact most of the band seem to have preserved themselves remarkably well.  Brett Anderson strides onto the stage last, to thunderous applause.  The years have been, especially kind to Anderson, who is just as thin as he was in 1993.

From the first note of “So Young” its obvious that this is no mere, money collecting exercise, by a band riding this years nostalgia wave. Suede, clearly have a point to prove, and prove it they do. Anderson’s voice is impeccable through the entire show, as he prances and pogo’s nonstop. Fan favourite “Animal Nitrate” is the first of many songs to benefit from the addition of Neil Codling on guitar. Though the highlight for many seemed to be, being given “the finger” by Anderson.

However, the man with the most to prove is Richard Oakes, having replaced the architect of Suede’s sound, Bernard Butler. Oakes has often been the fan’s whipping boy for Butler’s departure, rather than the rest of the band. By the time the band play the rousing “Moving” Oakes, has dispelled these misgivings totally, with precise renditions of the guitar parts. He is clearly enjoying himself, especially on songs like “Sleeping Pills and “Metal Mickey”.

Anderson’s voice goes Bowie on the outro of “Pantomime Horse” as he goes down on his knees and repeats “have you ever tried in that way…”  Anderson bounds the stage, like a man possessed, on “The Drowners” going into the crowd at one point. The fan’s are also treated to Anderson’s signature claps, on this track.

“Metal Mickey” and “Animal Lover” whip the crowd into a frenzy, before the band depart, leaving Anderson and Codling to deliver the albums closing track “The Next Life” This sparse piano balled perfectly suits the intimate surroundings of the Olympia.

After a short break, Suede return to play some fan-favourite B-sides “My Insatiable One” and “For The Birds” Disappointingly, the band opt to ignore calls to play “Killing of a Flash Boy” Opting instead to give fan’s a taster of whats to come, in their “Coming Op” gig. Firstly with “Thrash” The crowd go manic as Anderson, once again throws himself into the crowd. They finish the night with “Beautiful One’s” where Anderson encourages the crowd to “Sing it!” repeatedly. Once again Anderson bounds into the pit for the final bars, before the band disappear into the night. Just like the characters from their songs.

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