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The event Suede @Arenele Romane Bucharest 04.06.2011 (The Mono Jacks opening) was presented by One Event (site | Facebook) to whom Viviana (photos) and Octavian (review) thank wholeheartedly for one of the best concert experiences e-vah! Many thanks, and congrats, One Event! With a numerous crowd (less and unfortunately so for the 1-hour show put up by The Mono Jacks), a fine selection of songs on the setlist and a wonderful denouement, the event can be counted among the finest concerts of the year already. It may well be the Suede fan in me saying this, but Suede fans and Suede-curious crowd must agree: the concert, while sounding nothing like the Suede of their past glory, shows Suede are back, and we have to ascertain the more mature-sounding, retro riffs and always and always less falsettos as a sign this could well be the music of a new generation, too.
Suede‘s concert was exactly as I had fantasized about. I had a hunch there would be no “A New Morning” songs, it being the ‘one-too-many’ album lead singer Brett Anderson referred to as being the unnecessary effort that clarified the band’s disbandment in 2003. With a well-represented “Coming Up” (6 songs), “Dog Man Star” (5 songs), as well as 3 songs from “Suede”, 2 from “Head Music” and a totally unexpected and all the more brilliant and valiant “Killing of a Flash Boy” of “Sci-Fi Lullabies” fame, Suede took their audience on a scenic drive with significant halts of their career, showing that, notwithstanding the passing of time (some of the songs are 1-year short of being 2-decade old), the nineties were a wonderful musical playground, worth revisiting.
The Mono Jacks are on everyone’s lips when they talk about the new ‘new wave‘ of Romanian music, and if you attend any of their performances, you can surely understand why. A group that hails from the fame of another history-making Romanian group, AB4 (both Doru Trascau – vox and guitar, and Dorian Cazacu – drums are involved in both acts), the Mono Jacks are resplendent, energetic, and, of late, you do not have to go to far to look for one of their performances: eagerly awaited by their public, and welcomed by venues, they are pretty much everywhere. In their relentless 1-hour opening, they chose a mighty set of their English songs, which included “Maria”, “Come Back, Girl”, “Push the Pedal” or “We’re All Getting Older”, getting the gradually increasing audience into an enthusiastic crowd, just the feel you need in order to enjoy the Suede concert.
The nineties were wonderful, seem to agree Suede – and the skid marks of the noughties do not mean much, either. With a 16-song setlist that made up for 18 years of waiting for Suede, the concert was not unlike previous on-screen experiences of Suede performing live in other cities in their reunion tour. While it would be inaccurate to say that both band and audience brought back the nineties, they indeed showed that the music that is soon to become two decade old, is actually two decade young. Surprisingly enough, but all the more meritorious, the crowd did not consist of your average 30+ grown up kids of the nineties who have witnessed the golden era of Suede, but an equal share of younger people, who must have discovered Suede in an anachronistic process, always a sign of being at odds with one’s own times’ music, which delivers fewer and fewer acts to follow. If Suede are not yet spreading museum dust on stage, it is also because of their renewed audience and their intention to re-release by June-27 all their five albums in a format more plausible for 2011, with lots of extra materials, video content and previously unreleased tracks, “never-before-heard oddities and gems which even I’d forgotten about”, in the words of Brett Anderson.
No vintage or connoisseur Suede for the Bucharest date of their reunion tour, however. For a first meeting with their Romanian public (although less than 4 years ago, Brett Anderson‘s solo career brought him to Bucharest while opening for Muse), Suede chose to keep on the straight and narrow, and to meet the expectations of their public with songs that were chirped from everyone’s lips prior to the band’s outburst on stage. With retrospect, while deploring the fact that it had to be 2011 to see Suede live on a Bucharest stage (compare it to the feeling of frustration of not hearing your homebase name in “Europe Is Our Playground” back when it was released), I am particularly satisfied they did not sign a Bucharest date before (a feeling I recently have had over reading “The Words of Brett Anderson 1992-2009” – post in Romanian). With a richer concert culture and a more educated public, Bucharest can now welcome Suede the way they should be.
The outbursting beginning caused major ruckus with a 100% concert-safe choice, “This Hollywood Life”, that eclectic and so British song that, though less known than other Suede songs, was immediately taken in by the audience: the beat and Brett’s vocals made a fair deal with them. What ensued was a 3-hit course from their “Coming Up” days, a set that included “She”, “Trash”, as well as “Filmstar”: with less than 30-seconds between them, raising the awareness of the public to the extent to which it was sufficient for Brett to play charades with the audience in order to have them cover the chorus.
If the “Coming Up” set was surely meant to assuage the MTV-hype kind of folk who were less into Suede oldies, what came next was a cascading “Animal Nitrate”, which had a seemingly more mature approach (with a side dish of bouncing from Brett Anderson) and “We Are the Pigs”, reminding us of a time when indeed Suede, or at least veterans Brett Anderson and Mat Osman, were the Pigs. Midway in need of soothing, “By the Sea” brought the expected effect, as night was falling over the beautiful setting of Arenele Romane. “Killing of a Flashboy”, an unexpected curio which ranges among my all-time favorite Suede songs was next, with immense effort from Suede, and proportionally gratified by the audience.
The “Head Music” set included “Can’t Get Enough” and “Everything Will Flow”, both widely hummed to by the audience, and with a pinch of terrifically new arrangements, tell-tale of the fact that the reunion tour means a bit of brushing up. The good vibe that was building up rapidly meant it was time for “So Young”, a song that did not fall short of the expected result one bit; a Suede lovemark, it was well-received and apparently, no one felt the difference on hearing it with a twenty year lag and the same lyrics – Suede are young and the song sounded pretty cool.
“Metal Mickey” rushed forth, but it was kept down in a very elegant manner by “The Wild Ones”, with a superb, overpowering vocal rendition from Brett Anderson. The cheer was back with “New Generation”, a light-hearted and clearcut appraisal of the Suede generation of the nineties, as well as with the much aired “Beautiful Ones”. With the inside, Suede crowd joke of bits and tits checked, Suede performed a very lively and powerful “Beautiful Ones”, followed by a de facto encore in the flesh of “Saturday Night”, just as the first raindrops were starting to crash the audience. It being a Saturday night, it was the perfect song to seal the setlist, and, what a Saturday night it was!
“This Hollywood Life” * “She” * “Trash” * “Filmstar” * “Animal Nitrate” * “We Are the Pigs” * “By the Sea” * “Killing of a Flashboy” * “Can’t Get Enough” * “Everything Will Flow” * “So Young” * “Metal Mickey” * “The Wild Ones” * “New Generation” * “Beautiful Ones” * “Saturday Night”
Videos: “She” * “Trash” * “Filmstar” * “Animal Nitrate” * “By the Sea” by Kirilart * “Killing of a Flash Boy” * “Can’t Get Enough” * “Everything Will Flow” * “Metal Mickey” * “The Wild Ones” * “Beautiful Ones” * “Saturday Night” – All videos unless specified otherwise, by Romanitzza