Suede, Desperate Journalist @ Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, UK, 18th March, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024  

Suede

Suede, Desperate Journalist

Suede, Desperate Journalist @ Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, UK, 18th March, 2023,

Mar 21, 2023 Photography by Andy Von Pip Web Exclusive
Bookmark and Share


It’s somewhat appropriate that today (March 18th) marks ten years to the day that a reborn and reinvigorated Suede unleashed their comeback album Bloodsports to an unsuspecting audience. Released the same year as Arctic Monkeys’ AM and Kanye West’s Yeezus, Bloodsports cemented Suede’s place as relevant artists of the day amidst an ever changing musical landscape while setting the scene for the three masterful records that followed. Indeed, its probably fair to say they haven’t looked back since - last year’s excellent ninth long player Autofiction providing further indisputable evidence - so it was a pleasant surprise to not only hear Brett Anderson reference the album’s anniversary and significance in their rebirth, but also for the band to include six songs from Bloodsports in tonight’s set.

Suede
Suede

There’s also an anniversary of sorts happening this year with openers Desperate Journalist as 2023 marks a decade of existence for one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the UK in recent years. Having released four studio albums since their conception a decade ago it does feel strange hearing people around me ask who they are and whether they’re a new band. Nevertheless, the deafening applause that greets every one of their short-but-sweet seven songs set suggests they’ve picked up a wealth of new fans on this tour. Not only do Desperate Journalist bristle with the confident air of a band ready to progress to the next level, their sound is as accomplished now as its ever been. Singer Jo Bevan is undoubtedly a focal point, her vocal range similar in style to Kaleidoscope or JuJu era Siouxsie. Ably assisted by guitarists Rob Hardy and Charley Stone then further augmented by the taut rhythm section that’s Caz Helbert on drums and bass player Simon Drowner. They’re an incredible tour de force with an armoury of incisive material to boot. Former singles “Fault” and “Cedars” are despatched in the early and latter stages of the set respectively, while “Personality Girlfriend” and “Everything You Wanted” off most recent album Maximum Sorrow! makes a solid case to revisit one of 2021’s finest long players. On this form, it won’t be long before Desperate Journalist are headlining venues of a similar size if tonight is anything to go by.

Desperate Journalist
Desperate Journalist

Arguably one of Liverpool’s most grandiose buildings, the Philharmonic Hall might seem a strange choice of venue to host a band like Suede, but its ornate decor and lavish character remains synonymous with tonight’s headline band. Although boasting a smaller capacity than many of the venues on this tour at just 1700, it regales both theatrical and orchestral overtures that work in abundance with Suede’s panache for performance, glamour and sonic intensity. It’s also an all-seated venue although within seconds of Brett Anderson and co’s appearance on stage, everyone is on their feet in the stalls, many having rushed to the central aisle.

Of course with a band like Suede - and particularly the album they’re touring at the minute - it’s difficult to attempt to sit still and the opening salvo of “Turn Off Your Brain And Yell” and “Personality Disorder” act as a clarion call to let one’s self go for the next hour and a half. What’s apparent from the outset is how the songs aired off Autofiction immediately resonate with the audience. Suede might have over thirty years and nine albums behind them but since re-emerging back in 2013 with Bloodsports they’ve attracted a legion of new converts alongside those who’ve been there from the beginning, all eager to witness their next musical journey. A Suede show is anything but a nostalgia fest, while frontman Brett Anderson remains a hyperactive bundle of energy throughout.

Suede
Suede

Spending as much time in the stalls serenading various audience members as bounding around the stage, Anderson is an engaging presence. Nods to the band’s extensive back catalogue occur at various times; whether it be breakthrough singles “The Drowners” and “Metal Mickey” off their self-titled debut, or the gargantuan likes of “Trash” and “Beautiful Ones” from Suede’s biggest selling record Coming Up. The decision to play over half of Bloodsports on its tenth birthday is also welcomed with open arms, particularly the rarely played likes of “Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away” and “Always”.

But its the latest record that the band feel most comfortable performing, in particular a poignant yet celebratory “She Still Leads Me On” and frenetic “Shadow Self” that results in more stalls-level interaction between Anderson and audience. At one point he even asks for requests (and is taken aback when someone asks for “Elephant Man” off 1999’s unfairly maligned Head Music!). Elsewhere, an immaculate solo rendition of Dog Man Star centrepiece “The Wild Ones” sends shivers down every spine in the room while an emphatic “New Generation” off the same record sounds as enthralling and thematic as it did some three decades earlier.

Suede
Suede

It would be unfair to not mention the rest of the band whose flawless contributions make Suede one of the finest live bands on the planet right now, whether it be Richard Oakes’ exquisite guitar playing, Neil Codling’s forays between guitar and keyboards or the timeless rhythmic balance executed by Mat Osman and Simon Gilbert.

With more shows being added as the year progresses, it would be churlish to miss out on something so consistent and life affirming.

Suede
Suede




Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.