Even before the ‘Britpop explosion’, Suede were miles ahead of anyone else. Great songs, great songwriters, great band. Fast forward to October 12th 2018, and have they mellowed with age? No. Not even close.
A curtain adorns the stage as the silhouettes of the band make their way on, with a special loud cheer reserved for lead singer, Brett Anderson. And the shadows of Suede start us off with the opening number from The Blue Hour, their new album, which is As One. Anderson and the band – Richard Oakes, Mat Osman, Simon Gilbert and Neil Codling – sound very ready for tonight with that song. The charismatic lead singer then pops in front of the curtain, to the delight of his adoring public, to burst into Wastelands. A song that fits right in with the live sets of the band, with Anderson in real fine voice.
“Good evening, Hammersmith!!!”, proclaims Anderson before they launch into Outsiders. And the crowd gets the chance to sing along as Anderson struts the stage in sex god mode, cracking his mic wire like a whip to get a lot of people and their testosterone levels higher than ever. But soon, it’s the turn of the oldies. We Are The Pigs is the first of the classics to be played tonight, and Richard Oakes plays the parts done brilliantly by Bernard Butler even more brilliantly. Remember he was still a teenager when he joined Suede, and has matured into a fantastic guitarist.
So Young soon follows after that (much to my personal delight) and it’s a song that still doesn’t sound 25 years old. Brett Anderson takes full advantage to make it more seductive as well. And the classics continue with Heroine and The Drowners. And that song is the cue for Anderson to go wandering the perimeter of the Apollo, to mingle with the fans whilst remembering he still has a song to sing, which he does to perfection.
And then it’s the turn of a song that gets a very welcome outing in the shape of, He’s Dead. A very early Suede number that gets the older fans very nostalgic, as Anderson gets his snake hips swaying any chance he can. The curtain comes back down for more of the new songs. First is the excellent Tides is the first before Roadkill follows soon after, two very contrasting songs indeed.
The curtain raises again, this time for Sabotage. And not for the first time tonight, Brett Anderson struts his stuff as the band coolly to give him the musical back up as only they can. Another 1993 number follows in the shape of Dolly. A song that, as Anderson explains, “last got played 26 years ago, and you can probably tell”. Don’t think anyone minded too much, Brett. It Starts And It Ends With You continues this energetic show, with the singer doing a lot of exercise in one form or another.
Coming Up was a defining album in the mid 90’s for Suede, and Film Star goes down a real treat for those who still have Britpop etched in their memory. And the 90’s theme continues with the classic, Metal Mickey. These are songs that can still stand the test of time. After an encouraging prompt from Anderson to get the crowd cheering louder, they are all loud and on their feet for the one of the anthems they’ve all come to hear in the shape of Trash. Anderson and his audience really come together for this one.
“You want some more?!?!”, is the shout and they get more with THE Suede anthem, Animal Nitrate. The whole of the band are enjoying themselves, Oakes, Osman and Codling all tread the stage to great applause and the unflappable Simon Gilbert commands the drums so well as always. They all get a well earned breather as Anderson has the floor to himself to pay tribute to London, W6. A tale of wanting his ashes spread over London is then proceeded by the song of the night, a wonderful acoustic version of Pantomime Horse. Just Anderson and a guitar, nothing else was required for that moment.
The band return to begin The 2 Of Us, the second to last oldie of the night, before it’s a return to the brand new songs from The Blue Hour, in the form of The Invisibles and Flytipping, before the band exit stage left and right to get a well earned drink. The encore follows soon after with anthem number 3, The Beautiful Ones, before the show ends with Life Is Golden.
Suede certainly haven’t lost any of their appeal and their glamour, and this show is testament to that. The only thing that surprised the people was the fact they had never had played the Eventim Apollo before. But when it comes to quality songs in a quality show from a quality band, there is no surprise that the name of Suede is the one that gets mentioned every time. A blisteringly epic gig.