Suede at the Roundhouse
Topping the UK charts throughout the 90s, Suede have a strong history as one of the UK’s top performing alternative rock bands. Winning numerous awards across their careers, in 2013 the band announced the upcoming release of their seventh studio album, Night Thoughts. Set for publication in late January 2016, we are invited to the album’s global premiere at London’s Roundhouse.
From the set up, it’s immediately obvious this is no ordinary show. A dark cinema screen sits on stage and the crowd waits in hushed tones for the band’s arrival. There is not a mobile phone in sight. Suddenly the music flares and the previously ominous screen is brought to life with the images of a man drowning at sea. Lights behind the screen illuminate frontman Bret Anderson as he delivers the poignant words of the album’s first song When You Are Young.
Night Thoughts is an album with a unique twist. Set against the performance’s backdrop is a feature film directed by critically acclaimed photographer Roger Sargent. The film acts as an accompaniment to the music, visually presenting the themes tackled by the record. Impressively the songs are played back to back as the film progresses through its powerful story of a man struggling to deal with the deaths of his son and wife, choosing in the end to commit suicide rather than live with the pain.
It’s an odd experience for a concert; the crowd are relatively subdued and almost no cheering takes place, but by no means is it a negative one. The sound is fantastic and as the tale of love and anguish is woven before you, it’s hard not to become engrossed. Perhaps the only difficulty is splitting your concentration between Anderson’s performance behind screen and what is taking place on it. At times the editing can be a little too choppy that it does become difficult to understand what is occurring, or where your eyes should be drawn.
The second half of the show returns to a more traditional setting as Anderson belts a selection of Suede’s back catalogue. The mobile phones return and the cheering escalates with well-known hits Animal Nitrate and Killing of a Flashboy. It’s a winning combination of the singer’s powerful voice and Richard Oakes’ phenomenal guitar work. Anderson makes an excellent frontman throughout, jumping on top of speakers and down into the crowd – all without missing a beat. For new and old fans, Suede’s performance leaves you not only satisfied, but lost in thought from the emotions expressed.
Photo: Simon Q
For further information about Suede and future events visit here.