Thursday, 7 July 2011

'With all the love and poison of London'


I was recently in London for some very special gigs(!!) ... and they
were ... Suede doing 3 nights at Brixton Academy, playing their first
3 albums in full ... yeah I know. Exactly.

They did this is 2003 at the ICA - but I could only get a ticket for
the 'Coming up night so couldn't be bothered going, as I really wanted
the 1st 2 nights, the first especially (yes, even back then I just wanted
to hear 'Moving live) this time around though I managed to get tickets
for all 3 nights - and it's at my favourite venue in the uk ... couldn't be
more perfect

Suede - Brixton academy - London - 19 May 2011

I arrive and can hear SURFACING being played by Chapel Club - damn
my favourite by them. By the time I get into the venue and make my way
to the left hand side I still get to see the last few songs of their set. I know
I could have arrived in plenty of time and saw their whole set, but I always
get anxious before (important) gigs like this ... so I like to arrive when the
support act is on, so there's not much waiting around. It was really great
to see them live, what I like is that watching them was a really relaxed
affair, it was like their songs were washing over you

Chapel Club

great choice of songs played while the stage is being  set up for Suede
PIL (public image) ... Cocteau Twins (lorelei) ... The Cure (a short term
effect) ...Interpol (nyc) - seriously are they in my head!!

the sex pistols BODIES is still being played as their intro - I remember
they used it before they broke up - good that it's still being used - tonight
it's really loud and is the perfect song to get you in the mood for the gig

the start has a bank of lights pointing upwards, which signals the start of
the concert - it is pretty stunning to look at - the orchestral music from
the beginning of LOVE AND POISON concert is played (really nice touch)
and when it started up a huge wave of emotion just swept over me ... it
was a real reducing you to the very core moment ... not to mention that
it was an exact repeat of the start of that 'Love and poison concert (and
the last time Suede played at 'Brixton academy)

and because I have been thinking of that, I think it's going to go straight
into THE NEXT LIFE - forgeting it's an album night - so that means it will
be SO YOUNG, brilliant nonetheless - it sets the tone and mood of the gig
perfectly. There is crowd movement near the front but nothing major, but
this is my chance to move down to the front - it's good, I'm just not used to
hearing it as a first song - and when it has been so monumental in the past,
it's hard to keep topping it - doubly hard when it's a set opener

MOVING is the one song I've most wanted to hear live (and aside from
the ICA shows in 2003, it has not been played live since 93 and the first
album tour) I love just being able to participate in it ... all the jostling and
how you feel all this power and euphoria throughout the song in certain
moments as it surges and dips and you're caught up in that frenzy of it all

one of those punching arms down the front is me(!!)

as it's the album run through it goes straight into PANTOMIME HORSE
a song that I have a slight obsession with - I'm just a few rows away from
the front and have a great view of Brett and what I liked was the moment
when it hit me that there really is no-one like him, singing songs like this
- there wasn't then, and now there still isn't. Suede really are the most
important band ever to me (which I already knew) but it was just the
moment when watching him so close up hit this fact home really hard

THE DROWNERS is nice cause it's slow and the dirgy beats allow you
to do a slouchy/slam danc(ing) hybrid movement to it. SLEEPING PILLS
is epic and beautiful ... so fragile yet so defiant, ringing out all around you
- finally heard it live ... METAL MICKEY is frantic and extreme, and I love
anything that can let me indulge in my love of that whole grunge era crowd
participation/movment thing - I like anything that has that jostling throbbing
beat - for songs like this it's not about any kind of manic crowd involvement
it's definitely about a feeling that the song creates and encapsulates - so what
started out in 'The Drwoners' is fully realised when 'Metal Mickey' is played
it's a great feeling helped by the nonchalance vibe that this song gives off

one of the best things of the night is hearing songs that I'd never heard
live, ANIMAL LOVER for example - it's just an amazing thing being able
to sing out loud to songs that you've never had the chance to before ...
like set closer THE NEXT LIFE

after a short break the band come back onstage for some b-sides and
then play something that I didn't expect to hear tonight, with this being
the 1st abum night (but thought they could add on a few hits) but THIS
is a 1994 b-side ... it's KILLING OF A FLASHBOY and as soon as I hear
that start everything increases to the next level - jostling robotic violent
moves ... slamming into the person in front - this song could inspire nothing
less, it's Suede's  brutish and most thuggish song ... that mood carries on
with CAN'T GET ENOUGH - a great song to follow on with. I knew they'd
do TRASH and when they did I knew BEAUTIFUL ONES  would end the
gig, and it did. The gig ends with the debut album cover flashing up onto
the screen - seeing that image up there really was a perfect moment

1. So Young
2. Animal Nitrate
3. She's Not Dead
4. Moving
5. Pantomime Horse
6. The Drowners
7. Sleeping Pills
8. Breakdown
9. Metal Mickey
10. Animal Lover
11. The Next Life

12. High Rising
13. He's Dead
14. My Insatiable One
15. To The Birds
16. Killing Of A Flashboy
17. Can't Get Enough
18. Trash
19. Beautiful Ones

next up: Dog Man Star night!!

Suede - Brixton academy - London - 20 May 2011

Even after yesterday I'm still arriving midway through Chapel Club's set(!)
if anything I'm even more anxious for tonight's gig - what can I say, that's
just me(!) - I'm not someone who can just go to a gig for a 'night out .. and
this is DOG MAN STAR night, so my anxious-ness is up about 100 per cent
Chapel Club are great again, they definitely put you in a good frame of mind
I know that I will see them on their own in the future and that's why I am
not that bothered I didn't see their whole set. I was just happy getting this
glimpse into how great they are live and the feeling their music creates

Chapel Club

So tonight's the night - okay so I thought that about yesterday - but that
was more about hearing MOVING and some other album tracks - tonight
is really about the whole night ... that whole album and also in the back of
my mind wondering if they'll do associated single STAY TOGETHER (very
doubtful they hate it)

the crowd is packed even more tonight down the front than last night
- nevertheless I still have to get to the front and there's no time to mess
around. As soon as the lights go down I start moving. What I liked is that
the band actually performed INTRODUCING THE BAND - on the actual
DOG MAN STAR tour they used it as intro music when they came onstage
... after that it is straight into WE ARE THE PIGS, in which I realise I do
actually need a bit of room around me to fully enjoy this song (like at the
02 gig) still it's a great thing to see the song being reacted to like this, after
it not being played by the band for so long - hopefully it's here to stay now
... and funnily the lack of space situation is actually kind of suited to this
song, the jerky chord progressions suit the enclosed enviroment you are
in ... I just really love this song!!


same goes for THE WILD ONES - it adds a whole new dimension to the
song being in this enclosed enviroment as opposed to normally when you
are watching from afar with room around you ... DADDY'S SPEEDING
is the revelation of the night, I was never a huge fan of it, though lately
have been seeing it in a whole new light ... so hearing it live has altered
my opinion even more. Brett sings it really intensely, with the words
highly pronounced ... the end part of the song goes super loud and boomy
and watching it (at such close proximity) all unfold in front of me made
me really glad that I was this close

NEW GENERATION - I've never really liked it (well the chorus aside I
guess) and still don't - even more after tonight as the crowd interaction
increases significantly and it gets to the point where it feels just a bit too
dangerous for my liking - trampled to death for 'New Generation' err No
 ... I start to move to the left a bit (with thoughts of just watching from
the side) but I just stay a few feet to the left and watch from there - now
I''ve got this in the back of my mind ... what if any other songs have that
effect ... last night was intense but nothing like it was for 'New Generation'

... best thing was when the crowd thought they could do the same thing to
THIS HOLLYWOOD LIFE and proceeded to for about 10 seconds then it
just fizzled out as 'This hollywood life' has a totally different beat and is just
too slow for that reaction!! I was pleased that this happened as I could move
back in a bit more ... one of my favourite Suede songs ever - really love the
Bowie glam stomp feel to it ... then it's 4 slow songs to end the album part
of the gig - THE 2 OF US is heartbreaking ... BLACK OR BLUE is another
my opinion of has been changing recently and will even more after this gig
 - I really love the whole sub-operatic feel to it ... I just like the fact that
some songs only start to mean something to you years after you've first
heard them (and after actually hearing them live) kinda neat

THE ASPHALT WORLD!!! ... damn I wish that I hadn't moved after 'New
Generation' now ... I'm about 6 rows back, still good but I was a lot closer
at the 'Royal albert hall gig last year (where they merged it with 'So young'
... NO!!  everything was perfect as I was hearing it and then it just ended and
merged into 'So Young!!) regardless it's still soaring and majestical tonight
... tonight is the full version of the song ... I love the end part where it comes
back even more intense and full on

STILL LIFE is the last song - always loved it, when Brett sang the 'quietly
killed for you' part I thought of the american Suede zine I used to have
that was called that (until a friend I lent a load of zines to lost them all)
... and then still looking downwards this feeling came over me and honestly
brought tears to my eyes ... damn how this song is making me react ... best
part of the song is the end though, when there is no longer any singing, when
it comes over all orchestral and loud and encompassing ... and you just feel
lost in all of this sound engulfing you

after a short break the band come on again and the above flashes up on
the screen and I'm pretty happy, love that image - was just happy looking
at that!! ... I see the stool and I know it's THE LIVING DEAD, and it is ...
love this song - but I've heard it a few times now and the special-ness has
gone a bit and I've always kinda liked MY DARK STAR more ... and they
do that NEXT with a full band ... really shocked!!

that's nothing compared to what comes next ... STAY TOGETHER!!!!! - it
is surreal when I realised it was starting up - others were too, they *could
not* believe it ... the song of the night crowd reaction wise ... people were
freaking out over it ... so was a girl next to me ... I tell her that she's the right
kind of person to have next to me ... she says sorry - I said I wasn't being
sarcastic, that I genuinely meant it!! ... the whole thing is sublime - just
being able to sing out key words from it and just being able to react to this
song after waiting so long

excuse me while I go cry ...

those thuggish beats ... KILLING OF A FLASHBOY!!! - even better than
the night before ... I'm back to just a few rows from the front and it's glam
stomping jerking movements all the way from me ... this song always elicits
the same kind of reaction from me ... what I like is that is doesn't matter
where you are ... once it starts it always inspires a reaction from you that 
is not thinking about anything or anyone else, will this person mind this or
that? - too late ... you're gone!!! ... lost in the song!! - trapped in the song ...
those beats ... that violence ... Flashboys unite (+ take over)

SO YOUNG is perfect to follow on ... much better at the end than at the
start like the previous night ... it definitely needs to have had songs to
have led up to that moment - couldn't have been any more perfect ... 
I did get snatches and glimpses of what it must have been like back
during the 'Love and poison Brixton  gig ... careful what you wish for(!)
it was all so perfect I thought 'unlike New Generation, I wouldn't mind
being trampled to death during this song' ... CAUSE IT ALL FELT SO
DAMN GOOD(!!) ... and the next second it very nearly happened!! ...
there was a sudden wave of movement when everyone swayed ... it's
quite scary when that happens at a gig ... a bit freaky how it happened
a few seconds after I thought it!!

excuse me while I go quietly die ...

METAL MICKEY and ANIMAL NITRATE are the last 2 songs and are
the perfect way to end the gig - I'm so glad I was back near the front,
stuck amidst all the jostling ... great end to the gig - and then this flashed
up on the screen and I'm smiling all over again


2 german girls in front of me in the queue for the cloakroom
let me take a picture of that nights set list


glad that gig is over and that it was so great ... there had been a lot of
expectation on it from myself ... tomorrow I can relax and just enjoy it
more, kind of appropriate it's the 'POP' night (well Suede style!) it's the
COMING UP night!!

Suede - Brixton academy - London - 21 May 2011

So obviously I'm still arriving mid-way through Chapel Club(!!)
what I've really liked is that they did not play the same set every night
not just changing the order, adding totally different songs

Chapel Club

this is what Brixton academy looks inside - amazing architecture!!
it looks like you are outside under the night sky


You know how I said this was going to be the relaxed one - little did I
know!! - the orchestral version of 'She' starts up and I move down to
the front ... the band comes on TRASH starts and the place goes crazy
- more extreme than the night before in NEW GENERATION ... this
isn't going to be relaxed at all ... good thing is I'm right at the front on
the metal ramp bit part of the barrier on the 2nd row, and because
there is not enough room on this for anyone behind me it does afford
me a bit of stability ... the only bad thing about it is that I'm squashed
right up against the front ... there'll be no slam-dancing grunge hybrid
for me tonight ... damn - just what I'd have needed for FILMSTAR ...
I just resign myself to the fact this is how it is - or I just move right out
of there, which I'm not going to do ... but it's worth it for BY THE SEA
an advantage to being this close is seeing Brett so close up singing those
words without rows of people inbetween you ... not so good for SHE
though which just demands extreme reactions from you


YOUNG MEN is a real surprise - didn't expect it - really like the end part
where it goes all melodic ... and then they only go and do TOGETHER!! ...
those opening beats ... what a monumental thing to hear - the realisation
of what song is being played ... I don't even care that I'm so squashed up
if you can only move your head, then that's what you do, and you make
everything count ...

we lose it to the music ...

CAN'T GET ENOUGH is perfect to follow on with, with  it's jerky/spiky 
beats - staying where I was was all worth it for SO YOUNG ... 2nd row,
arms punching the air all around me,  just to be there ... to be a part of it
... mayhem everywhere, I think of the 'Love and poison video that was
filmed here and try to get a sense of what it must have been like to have
been there - it was really nice to think about that at that specific moment
METAL MICKEY is great ... funny how when I hear it I go into default
movement mode(!) well try to in this instance. The last song is ANIMAL
NITRATE, it's been too good the other nights to beat this, but still a great
way to end the gig - and that's it all over ...


1. Trash
2. Filmstar
3. Lazy
4. By The Sea
5. She
6. Beautiful Ones
7. Starcrazy
8. Picnic by the Motorway 
9. The Chemistry Between Us
10. Saturday Night

11. Europe is Our Playground
12. This Time
13. Young Men
14. Together
15. Can't Get Enough
16. So Young
17. Metal Mickey
18. Animal Nitrate

funny thing was, on the very last part of my tube journey I just started
catching wrong trains (right platform, just getting on trains as they were
about to leave, just assuming they were going the right direction) I did this
about 3 times and just kept getting further and further away from where I
wanted to go ... and it was so late that the tubes had just about stopped

I'm at an overground tube station at South Kensington and because I'm in
such a good mood, I started talking to the only other person on the platform,
this random girl, all huddled up on the bench (it was kind of chilly) she was
super pouty and was saying how she'd fell asleep on the tube and now had
no way of getting back home ... and it was funny when she asked which band
I'd been to see, you just knew that she didn't go and SEE bands ... unless it was
her brother Tarquin's best friends band or something like that ... the whole
thing did have a real 'Catcher in the rye feel to it,  just how it was so late at
night and no-one else was around - and she was kinda pretty ... but the thing
is like I said she was super pouty and I knew she was basically just wanting
me to sort this dilemma for her - just looking out for herself ... she wasn't
thinking of anything else - even the small talk just felt like filler ... so after
realising this when the tube arrived I just got on the carriage further up from
her ... who else would have nearly gave some money to a random girl they 
just met cause they felt sorry for her??!! - YEAH EXACTLY!

as this is the last tube of the night I have to get off at Earls court and walk
the 1 stop to Gloucester road ... and the funny thing is I actually didn't mind,
it was a really great feeling walking through these deserted leafy London
streets at night with 'Europe is our playground running through my head ...
it was like the perfect end to the night ... I was kind of disappointed when I
arrived at Gloucester Road sooner than I had expected. It was one of those
nights when you could have walked for miles, just walking and thinking ...
and feeling so happy

what I find difficult about writing gig reviews is it can be really hard to get
across how a song affects you without it all beginning to sound the same.
There are only a certain number of ways of describing something, yet there
are so many ways of being affected by something. Every song was special
and every song reinforced why Suede are so important to me ... and then
there are the moments when you're all squashed up at the front and it
becomes less and less about reacting specifically to a certain song or certain
moment in a song - it's about the atmosphere and mindset you are in, being
lost in that music, surrounded by people you don't have to explain yourself
to - cause you see in their eyes they feel the same way as you do. That's
what made Suede and those gigs so special

after 3 nights of being in this little Suede bubble, it's going to be really hard
to leave it all behind and go back to normality. It really was an amazing time

shout out to Paul who I met at the gigs ... really good to have met him
cool guy


'did the flash go off?' - 'no'
'did I look professional? - 'yes' ...

the hand on heart pose was something that Paul just did
even though I joked about it (are you having a heart attack?!)
I actually really like it and thought it was a real ingenious thing
to do, it looks very british (for some reason) and I really love the
whole visual statement of it ... just this symbolising of love for
 'The Smiths


'I wake up every day
But I don't want it that way

He said I had the luck of a son
With all the love and poison of London'


  1. great review, i understand what you were saying about trying to describe a concert experience, and those cathartic moments were the music and the performance/stage presence and the crowd all come together like euphoric surges and dips. i also liked what you said about getting anxious before shows, that happens to me too! i've read both your posts about suede, but i have to admit i haven't listened to an entire album by them all the way through yet. where would be a good place to start, in your opinion?

  2. Thanks for the lovely comment! That's the first one I get on my blog!
    Wow, this is amazing. I could spend hours reading and talking about those gigs. I get really emotional everytime! Great post. Thanks for reading me, your blog's really cool. Going to see Brett at Koko too?