RADSOUND // LIVE: SUEDE, HAPPYNESS – DE LA WARR PAVILLION, BEXHILL – 26/05/15
In the midst of the pain of not being stuck in a collection of muddy fields and tents jam-packed with the lucky welly-donned few, Glastonbury warm up shows in select odd corners of the country are the next best option for fans more than a bit jealous of the weekend ahead, though in the case of Suede hitting the De La Warr Pavillion in the seaside nowhere town of Bexhill, it was probably for the better.
After a sold out crowd of somewhat unprepared locals and die hard fans waded their way in (after a distinctly impressive long wait for most of the latter), London trio Happyness were onstage for support duties. With a combination of drawn out melancholic jams (see ‘Weird Little Birthday Girl’, ‘Pumpkin Noir’) and intense bursts of heavy slacker rock (‘A Whole New Shape’, ‘It’s On You’) the outfit – complete with endearingly awkward appearances and between song banter even more so – conjured up strong sounds lying somewhere between the calm of Pavement and freneticism of Dinosaur Jr. Closing on a short but sweet note with the lyric award winning ‘Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’, Happyness put on a set proving themselves more than worthy of the recent gathered attention, and the kind likely to propell them also to the top of festival slots in years to come.
Following the signature airing of Sex Pistols’ ‘Bodies’ and Rachmaninov’s ‘Piano Concerto No. 2′ – a diverse way to prepare the crowd – Suede took to the stage intent on pleasing those more ‘in the know’ with the first hour proving a vastly appreciated cavalcade of B sides, rarities and album cuts. From the off of seldom aired ’93 b side ‘Painted People’, the crowd burst into life and remained that way for the next two hours, racous in appreciation for anything the five piece threw at them. Crashing through the likes of Bloodsports’ ‘Snowblind’, the stomping ‘Heroine’ and the soaring ‘To The Birds’, the outfit showed no signs of withering in their now 26 year long existence, with Brett Anderson launching himself across the stage and into the clutches of the front row at any given moment, and enjoyment evident in the sly grins of every band member briefly lapsing in their expected non-plussed mystique.
Only brief resbite from the somewhat unexpected madness of the quiet seaside town was given when the band aired ‘The Sound Of The Streets’, a track left unplayed for a decade or two and gratituously recieved by the room, alongside two new tracks from their upcoming album, the majestically string fueled ‘Tightrope’ and the premiere of ‘Can’t Give Her What She Wants’, both proving intensely dark ballads of broken romance, and echoing more than a hint of a return to the sombre air of 1994’s ‘Dog Man Star’ LP. Following this, the outfit dove straight into more familiar territory with a collection of gritty guitar fueled hits from ‘Metal Mickey’ to ‘It Starts and Ends With You’ showing no dip in energy, and sending the crowd back into a frenzy of clamouring arms and hoarse voices. After an unavoidable outing of the piano driven escapism of ‘By The Sea’, a triple whammy of Britpop monsters ‘Trash’, ‘Animal Nitrate’ and ‘Beautiful Ones’ proved exactly why Suede ended up such a musical treasure in the first place with even the band tearing about the stage themselves – showcasing some rather impressive moves from bassist Mat Osman- and sending a wave of unadultered delight across the audience as the band left the stage.
However, when you’re Suede simply delighting your fans is evidently not enough, as the encore ensued a mindblowing outing of three 1994 epics – the wistful ‘The 2 of Us’, a goosebump worthy rendition of ‘The Asphalt World’ seeing even the most sternly serious faced guitar duo of Richard Oakes and Neil Codling lose themselves entirely in a fusion of feedback, and finally the euphoric orchestrated beauty of ‘Still Life’, ensuring even the most hardcore fan was left somewhat awestruck by the experience. Suede may have well and truly got over the reunion phase by this point, but their live performances and ever-extending sheer incredible catalogue of music still have unfaltering capability to conjure up joy and shock all those who witness them at every occasion, and with this only a warm up, you can’t help but envy what the John Peel headline set has instore for it, let alone the rest of the band’s career.
Suede‘s set list was:
To The Birds
My Insatiable One
The Sound Of The Streets
Can’t Give Her What She Wants
For The Strangers
It Starts And Ends With You
Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away
By The Sea
The 2 Of Us
The Asphalt World