Suede

support Christian Hjelm
author PP date 26/06/13 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Suede went on a hiatus in 2003 following a slew of critically acclaimed albums during the 90s that basically helped define and pioneer what is today known as Brit rock. Their reunion in 2010 was such a success that the band decided to see if they had another album in them, which resulted in the excellent comeback album "Bloodsports" earlier this year. Now they're on a full tour supporting the album, which normally consists of medium-large to arena sized venues across Europe. Today, they've taken a brief break from the bigger venues to play a special set at the 500 capacity Lille Vega prior to their bigger show at Tivoli a couple of days later. The tickets, which were set on sale for close to 450,- DKK a piece, sold out in moments as eager fans of the seminal alternative rockers were excited for a chance to catch an intimate and up-close show with the band for what is likely a one-of-a-kind opportunity in the foreseeable future. Given the ticket price and that Suede's hits were made in early to late 90s, the average member of the crowd was a well-dressed individual in the mid 30s that made my NOFX t-shirt and jeans look hopelessly under dressed for the occasion. Oh well.

Christian Hjelm

Christian Hjelm

First up was a Danish acoustic singer-songwriter called Christian Hjelm. He cherished the opportunity to play before Suede, and entertained the crowd with a couple of jokes in between his songs. These were mostly very uneventful, safe, and harmless to the extent that they felt generic and uninspired more than anything else, at least to anyone who has ever listened to Frank Turner or Chuck Ragan in the past. He shows good attitude, and the last song "Lang Vej Igen" draws shy sing alongs from the crowd, but overall his 25 minutes is over quickly and leaves no mark in your memory, really.

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Brett Anderson of Suede

Suede

The venue is rammed to its limits as Suede come on spot on at 22:00, but is surprisingly quiet otherwise in the beginning. This is probably because the band focuses on their new material early on, starting with the first three tracks from "Bloodsports" in a row, leading many to wonder if they had planned to play the entirety of that album tonight in this 'special set', saving the hits for the big show later on. Those fears (I wouldn't have minded, the new album is great from start to finish) are quickly removed as "Animal Nitrate" is played and leads into the first big wooh-ooh sing along in the venue. "Metal Mickey" receives a good response as well from the crowd, and in the meantime, lead singer Brett Anderson is hopping up and down on the stage with much more energy than their songs should allow for in my imagination.

Suede

In fact, and this is going to be the only time ever I'm going to say this in relation to a live performance, I'm not sure more energy is the answer for Suede, at least not tonight. This is a special intimate set where we can get up close without a barrier, so it would feel much more special if Brett sat down close to his fans, stood still, and focused on delivering the perfect vocals and encompassed the entire venue into his persona. Yes, his vocals are still magnificent even in this form, but given the almost non-existent interaction between him and the crowd between songs, a more static performance would've been a more fitting one. Alternatively he could've opened up a lot more and explained why they chose to play this small show, tell stories about the band, anything really that would've made this something other than just a small club show featuring a band playing big stages these days.

Suede & the audience

To be fair, he does kneel down into the audience during "The Wild Ones", and does make us aware that they are playing without their original drummer and with a stand-in guy, but I'm missing that certain something that would turn a solid show into a great one. That being said, "Beautiful Ones" has a huge sing along all the way through, as does final song "New Generation" after the encore, so all is well in the end. But as mentioned before, what could've been made into a show for the ages was merely a standard club show tonight, with a ton of classic material aired alongside sublime new ones from the Brit rock legends.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Barriers
  • 2. Snowblind
  • 3. It Starts And Ends With You
  • 4. Animal Nitrate
  • 5. Metal Mickey
  • 6. We Are the Pigs
  • 7. Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away
  • 8. Hit Me
  • 9. Filmstar
  • 10. Killing of a Flashboy
  • 11. The Wild Ones
  • 12. The Drowners
  • 13. Can't Get Enough
  • 14. For The Strangers
  • 15. So Young
  • 16. Trash
  • 17. Beautiful Ones
  • --Encore:--
  • 18. New Generation

Photos by: Philip B. Hansen

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