(photo credit: PR)
As a member of the Boomers II generation, my musical tastes, like those of many of my contemporaries, were significantly shaped by new-wave and alternative rock bands in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Not-quite-punk bands like the Talking Heads, Elvis Costello and The Smiths still resonate strongly within me, creating a sense of nostalgia that I don’t experience with other genres.
One of the bands that strikes a similar nostalgic chord among throngs of music lovers from the Baby Boomers’ successor – Generation X – is Suede. Founded in the early 1990s, Suede, led by singer Brett Anderson and guitarist Brendan Butler, jumpstarted the Britpop genre. Despite Butler’s departure in the mid-’90s, the band enjoyed a prolific 10-year run before breaking up in 2003. Seven years later, the band reformed, and on Thursday, it returned to Israel – four years after its local last appearance and for the fourth time all told – for a show at the Menora Mivtachim Arena.
Opening things on the darker side with the haunting yet romantic “Europe Playground” and “She,” followed by two songs from the 2013 Bloodsports album, Suede brought the crowd onto its feet and into the past with “Trash.” The high energy continued as Anderson broke out into two more classics – “Animal Nitrate” and “We are the Pigs.” Things slowed down temporarily with the lowkey “Sabotage” and recently-released, “I Can’t Give Her What She Wants,” during which the versatile Anderson knelt while engaging the crowd in a combination of music and theatrics.
The band followed with the crowd pleaser “Everything will Flow” – a harbinger for things to come.
And at the center of everything was Anderson. The heartthrob of so many fans during Suede’s heyday, Anderson is still a force to be reckoned 20-plus years later. With striking vocals, as well as a lean frame and enthusiasm that would make Mick Jagger proud, Anderson put on an electrifying performance.
Whether he was jumping onto an on-stage monitor, outstretching his hands like the new messiah, or constantly reaching out to the passionate crowd, Anderson was at the top of his game.
And he saved his best for part two of the show, launching into a powerful rendition of the Britpop favorite “Filmstar” and a moving version of “Living Dead,” accompanied by Butler’s replacement, Richard Oakes, on acoustic guitar.
Anderson showed his true virtuosity and range in “Wild Ones,” clearly showing that he’s got his “demon back,” which he claims to have lost after the band’s break-up last decade.
As Suede moved on to another one of its classics, “So Young,” the crowd piped in and jumped to its feet, where it remained for the rest of the show. After warning that the show is “just about to end” as he belted out another hit, “Beautiful Ones,” Anderson called on the crowd to participate in an “experiment” and sing along with him in an acoustic version of “She’s In Fashion.” With yet another successful collaboration with its fans under its belt, Suede closed the show with the upbeat “Can’t Get Enough.”
And while this nostalgic evening satisfied even the most avid of Suede’s followers, one got the impression that what they had just experienced would never be enough.