Suede , Glasgow: The Garage, Mon 22 Mar
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Before tonight, it was two years since Suede played live. Last time was the Reading Festival, when their hymns to bedsitland received mass worship. In comparison, this intimate fan club gig is Suede up close and personal — we see the whites of their eyes, the peaks of their cheekbones.
Suede have always had a deep relationship with their fans, the panda-eyed, boa-constricted people who turn up hours before the show to get buzzed-up on cheap booze and try to catch a glimpse of their idols. It’s this loyal, slightly obsessive fan base which has kept Suede afloat through the thin times and crises — the loss of original gr guitarist Bernard Butler and the 1’ thunder-stealing Britpop years. Fan club gigs allow a low-key dry run of new material in front of a friendly crowd and, accordingly, most of tonight's fourteen track set is from the forthcoming album, Head Music.
First up is ‘Can’t Get Enough’, a glam stomp with a metallic edge. It sounds like Ziggy Stardust strapped to a pylon, has a woo-hoo fade out to rival Blur’s ‘Song 2' and is delivered with aggressive aplomb. ’Hello Lanarkshire, we’re Suede and we exist,’ says Brett Anderson as the song slams to a close. There's no arguing with either him or the next track, ’Savoir Faire’, a mechanical, modernist mantra which sees that Adonis of the keyboards, Neil Codling delivering backing vocals like a ruined choirboy receiving communion. By the time current single ’Electricity’ rolls around, Suede don't sound like they have anything to prove, they sound like a band at the peak of their powers.
But despite Brett’s determined Showmanship and
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impressive playing from Richard Oakes, who remains uncomfortably hunched over his guitar throughout, Suede only rarely find a spark. With the exception of 'Electricity', the new material is considerably less immediate and much more groove-based than their previous work, which makes this showcase of the unfamiliar hard to get excited about. Only the old songs are received with anything like hysteria, but Suede are even playing hard-to-get with their back catalogue. There's no ’Animal Nitrate' or ’The Drowners', just admittedly excellent b-sides like ‘Together' and 'The Sound Of The Streets'.
On this evidence, Head Music sounds like a grower. Future performances will almost certainly draw on their past more thoroughly and should be a blast.
fused With rolling funk basslines delivered at bowel-loosening volume, while sporadic bursts of Vintage house pianos are welded to Syncopated, precision tooled beats. There's a
a. problem, however the venue is as
good as empty, and only begins to fill after Plaid are long gone.
By the time Orbital take the stage it's dancmg room only, and as the fifties 8- movie breakbeat techno of ’Way Out' takes shape, the famed sprung fIOOrboards of the Barrowland are being put to good use As the swrrling synths tail off, the beats mutate into 'Remind's off~kilter house, whose
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live techno wasn't an oxymoron. Ten
years down the line, Paul and Phil
Hartnoll have sharpened their talents to perfection, and tontiniie to prove that two nondescript blokes sporting illuminating headgear tan still be consummate showmen
Tonight's support att, Plaid, are similarly placed Formerly two thirds of experimental elettro-lunk pioneers Black Dog, Ed Handiey and Andy iiirnei' are still pushing the envelope and exploring tinthartered territories With the enthusiasm of fresh-faced st’lit’xill’)oys. Plaid live is a far rneatier proposition thunderint) toininydtin drums and whiptiack melodies are
gurgling basslines and malevolent keyboards give way in turn to the ()iOl'IOUS breaks and playful melodies of 'lmpact' The malicious 'Know Where to Run’ supplies a distinct contrast to this eager clieerfulness. 'Halcyon’, meanwhile, weaves Belinda Carlisle and Bon JoVi samples into hitherto unimaginable textures. High pornt of the performance, however, is a truly eVil rendition of 'Satan’, backed by post-apocalyptic [)fOJCCIIOHS and beefed up With pulverising gtiitars, this is punk rock techno as Liam Howlett could only imagine It's not pretty by any means, but then the truth never is. (Leon lvlt‘Dermottl
LOCAL LIVE Suckle
Glasgow: Nice 'n’ Sleazy
If bands could get rich just on the buzz surrounding them, Suckle would be multi-millionaires by now. Tonight's gig is packed out with an expectant audience, including members of Mogwai and Arab Strap, who have heard that this band are doing great things. Happily, the rumours prove true — they are.
Suckle are led by Frances McKee, ex of The Vaselines, whose 'Molly's Lips' was covered by Nirvana. Her current project owes less to grunge and more to her celtic roots.
Taking the classic alternative sounds of The Velvets as a blueprint, this seven-piece bolster the trad rock line- up With cello, flute and other off-beat instrumentation. The result is a hypnotic, mellow, melancholy, mantra- Iike swell with troubled-sounding lyrics delivered in a near chant by McKee and her sister. Excellent stuff.
For information on Suckle's recent record deal with Chemikal Underground, see Surface Noise page 39. (Peter Ross)
Edinburgh: Cafe Graffiti.
The audience come adorned in hats and caps of all descriptions. The band meanwhile are too busy cooking up a hotch potch of rap, hip hop and dub, as showcased on their album Yush Presents Blacka’ni'zed to worry about head gear. Chanting a mantra to the nation entitled ’S.C.O.T.L.A.N.D.’ is always gomg to be a crowd pleaser, but this Edinburgh collective needn't go to such pandering lengths — they have the seething masses in the palm of their hand. A touch of Smiley Culture here, a hint of Julian Cope-like doodling there, sprinkle some flute, scratching and shared vocals and you have the organised chaos that is a Blacka’nized show. The contented leave with their hearts aglowing. And their heads nice and toasty.
The Amphetameanies Glasgow: Nice 'n' Sleazy.
The problem with ska bands is that, because they tend to have so many members, there's always a danger there will be more peOple on stage than in the audience. That’s definitely not an issue at this launch for The Amphetameanies' new single ’Last Night'. While the stage is certainly packed with performers and more brass than a Salvation Army soundclash (including a member of Belle & Sebastian on trumpet), Sleazy's seems to have been sent to Coventry for the evening and is packed to the gills with punks, mods and ska fans all skanking like it's 1979.
But who can blame them? The Amphetameanies make a gloriously infectious racket and play tighter than Buster Bloodvessel's waistband after a box of Jestives. (Peter Ross)
STAR RATINGS 1* w r k * Unmissable t at >f it Very 00d 4: x r Wort a shot at )‘C Below average it You've been warned