Sunday 21st April saw SUEDE play a sell-out show at the O2 Academy Bristol which was part of their April 2019 tour, promoting their latest album The Blue Hour.
The show was opened by the amazingly eccentric BC CAMPLIGHT who were bold and brash to say the least. The front man, Brian Christinzio, took to the stage with a full bottle of wine in his hand, which he consumed throughout the set, and at one point, even used the bottle to play the piano. Brian politely informed us that their drummer was suffering with a bout of food poisoning and warned us he may run off unexpectedly.
They played a wonderful set, the first song ‘Fire in England’ was dedicated to Theresa May. The song itself was an interesting one, with Brian’s big American voice booming through the PA system. The next track was supposedly written last time he was in Bristol, entitled ‘I’m in a weird place now’, which started off with shouting the song title before playing what was a surprisingly good song. ‘Deportation Blues’ followed before finishing off with ‘I’m Desperate’, another track that opened with Brian shouting the track title. You can buy their latest album Deportation Blues HERE
After much running around by the stage crew and the top-notch security who were kept busy handing the front few rows cups of water, the stage was filled with smoke and the lights dimmed, and SUEDE were welcomed onto the stage.
Up first was ‘As One’, lifted from The Blue Hour, which, in my opinion, was a great choice for the opening song, it saw Brett stood on a slightly raised platform at the front of the stage, before joining the crowd at the barrier to exchange high fives and hold hands with the fans.
Up next was the tantalisingly beautiful ‘To The Birds’, which again saw Brett down at both corners of the stage to sing and interact with the capacity audience, making everyone feel like they were a part of the show. This was followed by ‘Outsiders’, another crowd favourite which went down very well indeed.
‘We Are The Pigs’ was sublime, this was closely followed by the unmistakeable opening tones of ‘So Young’, where Brett proceeded to swing his microphone around his head, whilst amusing at first, it soon became an issue when it narrowly missed some people in the crowd.
Richard Oaks and Mat Osman did a tremendous job of laying down the guitar/bass parts for ‘Metal Mickey’, a track that I hold dear in my heart as this was from the early days of their career and still sends shivers up my spine when I hear the opening lines . At some point during the set, Brett’s shirt became ripped, much to the amusement and joy of a few of his admirers.
After an acoustic version of ‘Saturday Night’ with just Brett and Richard, the whole band returned to the stage, for ‘The Drowners’, with Brett riding the barrier once again before jumping in with the crowd, held aloft like a sacrificial offering, this was followed by ‘It Starts and Ends With You’, which, near the end of the guitar solo, Brett temporarily lost his microphone after he had put it down on the stage (somewhere).
‘He’s Dead’ and ‘Sabotage’ were performed before the introduction of the first biggest song of the night, ‘Trash’. This saw Brett busting some incredible ‘dad-dancing’ moves across the stage, and the audience singing at the top of their voices throughout. ‘Animal Nitrate’ had Brett rolling around on the floor of the stage as he sung, and crawling around like a wild animal that had just been shot.
The band left the stage, with just Brett returning with an acoustic guitar. The crowd went silent so that he could sing ‘The Big Time’ and ‘The Wild Ones’, without the aid of the PA system. This was one of those special moments at a gig where it didn’t feel like it was a band and an audience, but more that the man on the stage was leading the whole room in song, and was not just a performance artist.
With the band back on stage, they launched into the final furlong with ‘Sometimes I feel I’ll Float Away’ and ‘The Invisibles’ this was followed by the (first) big finish of the night, ‘Flytipping’, which saw an immense reaction from the capacity crowd.
Thank you’s and goodbyes were said by Brett, all then left the stage, and we thought they had started packing up. It turns out it was just a replacement of guitars, before the encore. Brett then returned to the stage with the rest of his band, and loudly shouted that ‘If you don’t know the words to the next song what the fuck are you doing here?’, before belting out one of Suede’s biggest hits, ‘Beautiful Ones’.
Alas, it was time for the last song of the night, and Brett dedicated this one to his son. ‘Life is Golden’ went down a storm, and for one last time Brett was on the barrier, joining hands with the crowd to finish off the show.
After an amazing performance, I would like to thank the staff and security at the O2 Academy Bristol, for their hard work, making it a night to remember.
Brett’s comment that Suede will carry on doing what they love and that they envisage being around for a while yet was perhaps a teaser for new material in the near future? if tonight’s show was anything to go by, I bloody well hope so!
Review and Photographs by Ted Stargatt