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We can stay a while in heaven today - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
We can stay a while in heaven today
The Tears: Tuesday December 14th, The Zodiac, Oxford

Last night, the Zodiac played host to the eagerly-awaited debut of this new indie sensation. The Tears are: Brett Anderson (one-time collaborator with Elastica frontwoman Justine Frischmann) on vocals; Bernard Butler (McAlmont & Butler, also successful solo career) on guitar; Makoto Sakamoto (Bernard Butler, Bert Jansch, Frou Frou) on drums, Will Foster (Sophia, Heather Nova) on keyboards, and Nathan Fisher on bass.

Oh, who am I kidding? Never mind the indie credentials: Brett and Bernard from Suede are back together again. If this makes their reconciliation sound like the rebirth of a romantic relationship, we've only got them to blame: Bernard was smiling shyly behind his mass of hair and pouring all his feelings into his guitar, and Brett was bouncing around the stage, brimming over with the sort of excited energy that you'd expect from a teenager who's just discovered sex.

That sort of teenage energy is as catching as the songs are catchy. I'd tried hard (well, okay, I'd tried a little bit) to be nonchalant about the gig, but I had too much of my adolescent history invested in Suede to be able to stay cool; when Brett and Bernard finally appeared, it was as though I'd rewound 11 years of my life, back to my first ever gig: Suede, April 6th 1993, Manchester Academy. I was 14, I was terrified, but I WAS THERE; and there was Brett, live on stage, and bigger and better than any of the posters and newspaper pictures I'd plastered over my bedroom walls. I squealed and cheered and clapped and cried and jumped up and down... and this time I didn't even have the excuse of actually being 14.

That this time-machine effect could happen at all is testimony to how good the Suedesters are looking: Brett could easily pass for a decade younger than his 37 years, and could probably even convincingly lie about the time in rehab. (And hey, hardly anybody remembers the unfortunate 'beardy' years.) He may be grinning like a schoolboy with a crush, but he's also regained the sexy swagger, the decadent glamour, and the fuck-me fringe that stole the heart of the early 1990s. Yet inbetween the songs he's touchingly shy: he announces the songs' titles awkwardly, and asks the audience what they think of the music as if their reaction could make or break him.

So what do we think of the music? We've all built expectations on it beforehand -- whether we're Drowners in nostalgia, or hoping for a New Generation of post-Suede indie brilliance -- but as we're waiting for the band to come on there's an air of nervousness in the audience: what if they're rubbish? What if, after selling our grandmothers on eBay to get tickets for this elite fan-club-only we-were-there-first gig, all we were there for was a last desperate shot of mediocrity?

We needn't have worried: we can name that band in one. The first three bars of music are quite enough to tell us that, pseudonyms be damned, this is the Suede we know and love; this is 1994 in an alternative universe where Bernard and Brett patched up their differences after the glorious burnout of Dog Man Star and went back to a cleaner, sharper, more upbeat sound. They've got a tighter rhythm section; they're leaner, meaner, and in control of their material. The lyrics may be slightly Suede by-numbers, peopled with the usual cast of faded filmstars running hand-in-hand through the grey suburban wasteland (guys, if you need a co-lyricist, I'm free), but who could resist the instant hit single with the chorus of "Your imperfections make you beautiful"? Who could fail to be moved by Brett's soaring falsetto singing of tidal waves and summer rain? And what hand-holding indie kids, staring through fringes across the dancefloor, could hear "We are the lovers" and not feel as though they'd invented love?

... well, okay, all of you guys, probably -- including addedentry, who giggled indulgently at my teenagerishness (but didn't forget to catch me when I half-swooned as Brett announced the song "Beautiful Pain"), and acronym, who was probably more focused on chords and guitar licks than choruses and fringe flicks. They kept their cool, but "I can't control my animal soul." But, hell, if you wanted an objective assessment of the collective talent of Messrs Anderson and Butler, you could do better than asking the girl in the faded purple Suede t-shirt who looks like her Christmas came early.
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Comments
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j4 From: j4 Date: December 16th, 2004 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Fringetastic!

So, were they any good or not?

Well, if you liked Suede circa 1991-1994, then yeah, The Tears were brilliant. If you didn't, then they were probably as bad as you thought Suede were then.

I'm hopelessly biased here, though, as I'd cheerfully sell my internal organs on eBay for a chance to get within squealing distance of Brett. :)
geekette8 From: geekette8 Date: December 16th, 2004 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Were you really 14 in 1993? Gosh. I didn't realise you were as much younger than me as that.

Ah, just looked at your userinfo and yes, you really are that young. :-p

j4 From: j4 Date: December 16th, 2004 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm 26! ... but I feel like a teenager at the moment. :)

So how much older than me are you, then (if it's not a rude question)? I tend to assume my friends are all "about my age" (whatever that means) unless they tell me otherwise...
geekette8 From: geekette8 Date: December 16th, 2004 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm 30 (but only for the next 8 days :-)) Somehow the difference between 26 and 30 doesn't seem THAT much, really, but the difference between being 14 in 1993 versus being 18 in 1993 seems much more!

Yes, I was partly doing the "about my age" assumption thing, and partly thinking that you were the same age as LNR, who I thought was one year below me at University, but looking at *her* LJ user info it looks as though she is actually almost exactly halfway between you and me :-)

And Ra! for feeling like a teenager :-) I definitely don't feel anything like a teenager... I can't remember the context of the conversation, but the other night Jif said something to me about "you're only as old as you feel" and I replied that in that case I'd be off to the post office with my pension book.... :-/
keirf From: keirf Date: December 16th, 2004 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Well 26 is 87% or 30, whereas 14 is 77% of 18, so there is a big difference. When you're 80 and she's 76 it'll be 95%, and the difference will seem even smaller.
geekette8 From: geekette8 Date: December 16th, 2004 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)
True.

My birthday is in December, and Jif's is in February (he's 2 months younger, not 10 months older). EVERY SINGLE YEAR, at some point in that time between Jan 1st and his birthday, he says to me "I'm only X, and you'll be X+3 next year".
keirf From: keirf Date: December 16th, 2004 08:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Hit him with a fish. It's the only language they understand.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: December 16th, 2004 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Suede made good late night road music on the M6. Nice they're doing something productive together now, a decade later.

98% of the LJ usership is younger than I. ;->
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