Music review: Suede, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow

SUEDE may have delivered a fair bit of glamorous urban angst in their time but they’re not ideally a band to encounter in the rain – or outdoors in general. Nevertheless, at their most anthemic, there is a galvanising power which can cut through any weather front. Add to that the aggression with which they attack their shows, and these onetime Britpop fops are a pumping live affair, black clad and brooding in front of an audience expressing their ardour as far as one could while wearing a disposable poncho.

There were no half measures from Suede frontman Brett Anderson. Picture:  Marta Perez/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
There were no half measures from Suede frontman Brett Anderson. Picture: Marta Perez/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Suede, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow ****

The overwrought dramarama of their intro music augured the fabulous bombast to come. Frontman Brett Anderson, a man who could do louche in his sleep if he so desired, was not one for half measures, over-reaching on the vocals and even concluding a stormy He’s Dead with a dance solo.

The set was bookended by material from their latest album, Blue Hour, and other tracks from the comeback years but, inevitably, it was the hit-stuffed middle section which sent band and fans into overdrive, starting with a hoary take on We Are the Pigs and the exultant So Young.

Subtlety was not on the menu, whether serving up Heroine, their love song to intoxication, or the unapologetically overblown The 2 of Us from their masterpiece, Dog Man Star. The band were utterly committed to their path, with the pumped-up Anderson expecting reciprocal effort from the audience and really appearing to be swallowed up by the crowd during glam bruiser The Drowners.

The only respite from the pomp and melodrama was a solo acoustic rendition of Pantomime Horse. If Anderson had earned that brief breather, he also deserved the indulgence of closing the show with a new song, Life Is Golden, written for his son.

FIONA SHEPHERD