Friday, 29 March 2013

Suede Weekend Part 1: Nottingham Rock City Gig Review

Suede: Nottingham Rock City 28 March 2013

And so it continues, not since 2002 when following Suede to their Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham gigs, and 2005 when doing the same for the Tears with Bernard and Brett (hadn't see them with Suede) have I been caught up in such a weekend of excitement. Part one of the Suede fest (after building up my excitement by reviewing Bloodsports and then reliving the fan club gig from years ago here) was to head off to a nearly home gig at Nottingham Rock City, accompanied in a full car load of Mrs P (very excited) and Neil & Jayne (pretty excited but would be more so if it was Embrace..... perhaps soon who knows).

Having legged it from work early (I had schoolboy fever again, not being able to sleep the night before, so was at work for 7:00. a perfect excuse for sloping off early for a bank holiday weekend) got home, filled the kids (and ourselves) with McDonalds' to over excite them for Nanny on Baby sitting duty and we were off, 5:45ish, not bad. This was important given the gig had a 10:00 curfew. Now say it quietly but I quite like these curfew gigs, happy to be back home at a reasonable hour, in fact I am not averse to seats at gigs these days either. But say this to me in public and I will definitely claim otherwise.

The journey to Nottingham was a little fraught, firstly heading off down a seemingly brilliant shortcut which turned into a snow bound dirt track that we only just escaped, and then entering Nottingham, down the car park that is the A453. With my copilot Neil who had been a Student their 20 years ago guiding us to Rock City with such directions as left here, oh actually its a one way street / pedestrian area / where have these trams come from......

We arrived, though after the somber moment of Neil noting that 'they've knocked down the student union, I saw Suede there in 92 supported by the Auteurs' He always had the cooler gig prowess, but the Eurythmics and Howard Jones did me proud back in the day!

Legging into the venue, we caught the last song from the Temples, which was a shame as I found much to my amazement that not only did I like it, I knew it well, must have been a random purchase off the back of hearing it on the radio. If only I had the chance to see a full set from them some time in the future, Saturday say............

We turned our attention to drinks then, Rock City = Cans of Red Stripe / Tuborg , more than happy with that and wandered off to find a good vantage point, which was required for the smaller members of the party. Again home turf knowledge from Neil came in handy, finding a step for the girls to stand on, whilst we guarded the space in front from giants. Worked well, although the gig was punctuated with the odd (look he's stood right in front of me comments) from Mrs P.

A few of the standard tunes to warm up the crowd, Black Sabbath and the obligatory Sex Pistols and then.... They were onstage walking on to a calming piece of classical music, all dressed in very fashionable black attire. A lot more designer I would imagine these days to the early days.

So had their mid 40's calmed down the whirlwind that is Suede? opening galloping chords of Barriers burst over the crowd and Brett was Brett again, looking the fittest (in my eyes sporty, Mrs P's sexy) he has looked for years. Taring into the song backed with the sound of the band that would never be recaptured on record (and Suede have had plenty of criticism from audiophiles about the sound quality of Bloodsports). As a song, Barriers for me is a Suede classic, its the song going round and round in my head still, along with the slight ringing in my ears, its one of the best songs I have heard in years, but a number of the Bloodsports songs fit into that category.

Being a warm up gig, the audience was pretty much full of 30/40 something Suede fans, dressed in Black and singing through every word of Barriers, which was followed by new songs Snowblind and It starts and ends with you, same as the album and yes fantastic reception. Then a bit of a chord, a clue to decades gone by and they plunged into Animal Nitrate and Metal Mickey. The roof lifted visibly off Rock City. Those songs sound so vibrant 20 years on (I hate saying that) and everyone in the crowd wasn't just singing along, they were belting out the anthems that launched Britpop and wrestled music back from Grunge and the yanks back in 92.

Brett was in the crowd again, a matter of feet away, slightly different experience to 2 years ago when we were sat on the back row of the Albert Hall, in dire need of Binoculars (thanks seatwave). He seemed definitely to be enjoying himself, first time in Rock City which surprised me but 'Nice here innit, we'd loved to come back' was Brett's thought and the general vibe.

The rest of the gig passed by at an incredible rate, with Suedeisms galore (although not the microphone bottom wiggling antics of old) such as the well honed twirling of the microphone on long wire with just enough pace to land back in the hand with the split second timing for the verse (always looks cool see example right). Or looping round the head ready to lassoo any passing cattle before letting the microphone wrap Brett up in his wire, the end of Filmstar I think it was last night, stomping song ending in a whirl of microphone.

We had a brief moment, after 'sometimes I feel' where Brett announced 'thats the first time we have done that song live, probably the last', a comment on audience reaction? dunno but its a quieter song and we all loved it in our car (checked this out on the way home)

The highlight for me of the set was the inclusion of Killing of a flashboy. A throw away B-Side on the lead single for Dog Man Star, We are the Pigs. This is an absolutely brilliant song, again a big sing along. 'Its the same old show, he's a killer he's a flash boy Oh!' always brings back memories of the stick thin Richard Oakes swaying around, long hair flying at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on his first tour with the band, the young 17 year old (who I was suitably star struck to meet last year when touring with Artmagic - great band)

Wrapping up with Brett's challenge to 'sing along, you know this one, well you should do or why are you here?', we got a rousing Beautiful ones and they were gone to soak up the applause and return, without the Rhythm section for an encore of What are you not telling me, for the strangers and finally New Generation.

Which poses the question will this new album get Suede a new generation of followers? I remember vividly the thrill of singing this song after the gig in Wolverhampton back in 1994, thoroughly smitten by Suede - but can a new generation feel that way about a band, dressed in black halfway through their 5th decade on this planet!

To be honest, I don't care - Suede are my band, and seeing them in a venue like this is exactly what seeing a live band is all about for me 80 minutes of bliss.

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