Live review: Suede, Teleman at The Barrowlands, 27/10/13

SuedeAW160911On the day we first heard of his sad passing, Lou Reed’s ‘White Light/White Heat’ pipes through the Barrowland Ballroom, seguing into a brief classical piece as Suede emerge onto the stage.

It’s a fitting tribute a man who perhaps did more than any other to inspire tonight’s acts brand of sleazy glamour and misfitry, but first the audience is treated to a short set from London alt-poppers Teleman.

With their smart shirts and gawky hipster glasses they resemble a student version of Kraftwerk but their smart, polyrhythmic indie-rock is more likely to find a home alongside the likes of Alt-J and Django Django.

There’s plenty of diversity however; one track nods to Blur’s ‘On Your Own’ while another veers closer to Talking Heads’ bouncy white-funk.

It’s distinctive, brainy stuff that bands like The Young Knives or Dutch Uncles would be pleased to call their own.

Formed out of the remains of markedly more pedestrian indie-rockers Pete & the Pirates, their calling card is the coolly effective ‘Cristina’, on which the titular girl’s seductiveness is juxtaposed with Thomas Sanders’ crisp delivery, interestingly it was produced by ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler (Duffy, The Libertines), expect big things from these guys.

As frontman Brett Anderson says, Suede have played in the Barras a number of times over the years but it’s hard to imagine they were ever greeted with a more rapturous reception than they generate tonight.

The evening’s setlist focuses on the three indisputably great albums from their early period plus tracks from this year’s remarkably consistent comeback album Bloodsports.

Opening with a low-key but devastating ‘Still Life’ before taking in two new songs; the instantly anthemic ‘Barriers’ and rip-roaring ‘It Starts and Ends With You’ the intensity levels are high and the audience go wild.

For someone who just a decade ago was in the grips of a major addiction to crack and heroin Brett Anderson looks fantastic.

Now in his mid-forties he remains suave and stick thin; like Alex Kapranos’ stylish older brother.

Gyrating his hips, whipping the mic lead around his head and falling dramatically to his knees, he’s such a powerful performer that he has the audience in the palm of his hands.

Most importantly though, that startling howl remains undimmed, still capable of infusing his lyrics about sex, drugs and hedonism with a stark drama; as if his heroes Bowie and Morrissey were there on stage.

‘Filmstar’s casting couch sleaze and the seedy glamour of massive hits like ‘Metal Mickey’ and ‘Animal Nitrate’ send the crowd into ecstasy as Anderson throws himself into the first row.

By the end of the show his crisp white shirt is torn open and practically see-through with sweat.

Electrifying B-side and live staple ‘Killing of A Flash Boy’ is dark and violent as the crowd chant along.

Ending on a sing-along ‘Beautiful Ones’ Anderson points at the audience and then at the band as if to say: “We’re all in this together, we are the ones”.

As a reminder of how great Glaswegian audiences can be it’s pretty indisputable.

Suede is still at the height of their powers.

Words: Max Sefton

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