Review: Suede remain one of the most inscrutable talents of their generation

Suede played the BGE Theatre in Dublin. Ed Power has this review.

Back in their frilly-shirted pomp, you'd have received long odds on Suede being the Britpop band that outlived the hype, the jingoism and the terrible hair-cuts. Gloriously louche, they basked in the white heat of debauchery with scant regard for the morning after. That there would be a second and third acts to their career seemed preposterous. If ever a group was built to burn out rather than amble into the sunset, it was they.

Yet here they were, 25 years from their debut album, preening and pouting through a triumphant final night of their European tour. The charge was led by singer Brett Anderson, whippet-lean at 51 and a master of old-school rock theatrics. Over and over he plunged into the audience and performed the frontman version of keepie-uppie by whipping his mic around his head like a lasso.

Almost as striking as Anderson’s vamping was the focus on their tremulous new album the Blue Hour - their third since reforming in 2010. It was curtains for the band as they arrived with a thin indigo veil between musicians and crowd. The device was a moody framing for the LP – a rural gothic odyssey somewhere between Watership Down and the Wicker Man and informed by Anderson's recent relocation to the countryside with his family.

As you would expect and demand of a Suede record delving into the dark side of rustic living, the Blue Hour is thrillingly pretentious. “When it all is much too much, we’ll run to the wastelands,” sang Anderson on stand out the Wastelands – a baroque dirge in which star-crossed lovers flee the oppression of the everyday by going off the grid.

Later, he delivered a spoken-word piece about finding a dead bird at the top of Misery Hill, the (not especially miserable) lane adjoining the venue. It was the kind of gig where you really had to buy into the vocalist delivering a spoken word piece about stumbling upon avian carcasses on a post-soundcheck ramble.

There was room for hits too. The veil was swept away and the guitars kicked in for the fizzbomb assault of Metal Mickey and Animal Nitrate.

Ever the prowling attention-grabber Anderson honoured the dying art of showmanship by flinging himself into the crowd during Lazy and stomping on the monitors for We Are The Pigs. It was breathtaking – a reminder there was more to Britpop than cheeky lads in track tops yelling "oi" and confirmation that Suede remain one of the most intriguing and inscrutable talents of their generation.

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