Live @ Bristol Academy
November 10, 2002
Review & Photography: Steve Bateman

Pictures to follow

“We set the scene for the music of the decade. ‘90s music wouldn’t have been the same without Suede”.
- Brett Anderson (Q Magazine, December 2002)

An important quote, which recognises both the historical significance of Suede, as well as Brett’s own acceptance, of where his band stand in the music scene of today. Although their fifth studio album: A New Morning, shows a more positive side to Suede’s music (hence first single: Positivity), in terms of media coverage and sales, their return has been fairly modest, with the new album only entering the UK charts at number 24.

They have been labelled as ‘Britpop survivors’ who have settled for cult status, by opting to please their fan-base with a tried and tested formula. The harder / colder electronic experimentation of 1999’s Head Music, has given way to songs, which are mostly reminiscent of 1996’s commercially successful Coming Up, and delve further into Brett’s fascination with city life.

Personally, as a devoted Suede fan, I think A New Morning contains some truly great and well-crafted songs, with fantastic melodies and production. I especially love the harmonica laden Obsessions, and think that tracks such as Lonely Girls, Lost In TV, Astrogirl, Morning, One Hit To The Body, When The Rain Falls, Oceans Between Us etc. are amongst some of Suede’s most beautiful and compelling compositions to date.

The Suede of 2002 consists of: Brett Anderson, Simon Gilbert, Richard Oakes, Mat Osman and newest member Alex Lee (who has replaced Neil Codling). Suede’s live performances are legendary and as fans wait in anticipation, Richard and Alex, take their places on stage and proceed to play their guitars, before being joined by Brett, who walks on stage with a cool swagger. The lights brighten and Positivity rings out across the venue, much to the crowd’s delight.

With Mat and Simon completing the line-up for Everything Will Flow, Suede is a now a tight unit and ready to rock! “We’re going to take it step by step” Brett exclaims (whilst mimicking stepping actions – much to the band’s amusement), “We’re going to give you some old songs and some new songs”.

Brett is on fine form, with an abundance of energy / enthusiasm and a voice to match.
Throughout the course of the evening, he twirls his microphone, stands on the stage speakers and parades around with outstanding confidence. His interaction with the fans and on stage banter, just has to be seen to be fully appreciated: “At the front we have the hardcore fans. In the middle we have the Coming Up and first album fans, and at the back – well, you’ve all been dragged here by your girlfriends”, he says with a huge smile.

During an impassioned performance of Filmstar, Brett snarls F – I – L – M – S – T – A – R, with assistance from the fans. He also asks the crowd to accompany the band, with the falsetto chorus of She’s In Fashion and teaches everyone the chorus to Obsessions, with an unplugged rendition beforehand. New songs Streetlife and Beautiful Loser, are well-received and sit well against classics, like Animal Nitrate and So Young.

For the encore, Brett performs a superb acoustic version of Oceans Between Us, before the band re-joins him for Astrogirl and The Wild Ones: “This is my favourite song from Dog Man Star” he proclaims. Suede finish with a scorching rendition of the Beautiful Ones, on a night which saw everyone “Shaking their bits to the hits”.

A very special thanks to Phil Savage for all of his help, and to Suede + their management / security.