Manic Street Preachers and Suede
from this and the Seattle date here
In 1992 I spent a night with the Manics Street Preachers including Richey Edwards (their guitarist who disappeared in 1995) in Copenhagen. I wrote about that at backstagerider.com, and in the ensuing years was able to interview singer James and bassist Nicky separately, sharing words and laughs about their complicated, beautiful, dear friend.
I have a massive soft spot for this band, and so it was a GIFT to be able to see them kick off the first night of a co-headlining tour with Suede, at the Commodore Ballroom on Nov 3rd.
Its been a ton of years since they have been back to YVR, and the set list was flawless. All the hits (Everything Must Go, A Design for Life, Motorcycle Emptiness, La Tristesse Durera, The Everlasting et al) but also the 92 cover of the M.A.S.H. theme song Suicide Is Painless (*sigh*).
But more than sounding strong, the Manics were just so fucking charming. From the Welsh flag on stage, to genuine smiles all round, to Nicky recounting tales of the young Manics together at the goth club nights, with folks dancing arms askew, before launching into a surprise cover of The Cult's She Sells Sanctuary it was all just lovely.
But the very loveliest, if you scroll to the last photo, was that Richey was still very much in the room. Nicky was wearing him - on a bass strap designed by Sarina Schack, with old photos of the two of them from 1992. The same photos on a postcard I got at the venue in Copenhagen. It made me smile, and get a little a teary.
And when I looked over at the front row, two others, whod just spotted the strap too, did the same. Then Nicky dedicated You Love Us to him and us Manics fans in the room exploded.
Thank you James, Nicky and Sean, I keep you in my heart always.
Now, where to start on the kick off of Suede's co-headlining
North American tour with The Manics?
Ok, lets go back 29 (!) years to June 5, 1993....
Suede have just played Toronto for possibly the first time and I am backstage chatting with Brett Anderson, then-guitarist Bernard Butler and bassist Mat Osman (whom I deem in my notes to be much sexier and Bernard uncharismatic). I dub the gig exactly as Id expected: flashy, campy, quite good.
Better than two years later when I see and shoot them again, unimpressed by the primping and posing. But heres the thing: Suede at the Commodore Ballroom on Nov. 3 were the by-far best I have ever seen them.
Suede of 2022 is now a band with a visceral new album (Autofiction, please go listen) and both everything and nothing to prove. There was a punk FIRE to Anderson and Co. I had never seen; literal non-stop, amp-cranked-to-11, sweat-drenched. Ageless vampire Brett was up on the amps! Down in the crowd! In your face! Trying to wrestle his own shirt away from drunk fans! Mic-swinging, ass-shaking, finger-pointing. Look at the pics to see what I mean!??
It was a gnawing, growling, gnarly energy and there seemed to be a singular focus on keeping things raw, consumed. Not just Brett, either (because, look, hes compelling but Mat, Simon, Neil & Richard were propulsive. The fuel to Bretts fire.
Suede sounded HUGE.
The highlights were too hard to pick: Animal Nitrate, Trash We Are the Pigs and the solo, quietly powerful sing along of The Wild Ones were up there but frankly I was gobsmacked by the new Personality Disorder from Autofiction quick off the hop, as it left me wondering if I was at the right show. Punk much? Who dis? This wasnt flouncy primping and posing, this was confidence and hard work. If this is a Suede renaissance, I am very much here for it.