Suede live at the John Peel Stage, Glastonbury, 27th June 2015

Main Setlist:
Pantomime Horse
Moving
Trash
Animal Nitrate
We Are the Pigs
Killing of a Flashboy
It Starts and Ends With You
He’s Dead
Pale Snow
I Don’t Know How to Reach You
The Living Dead
The Drowners
So Young
Metal Mickey
Beautiful Ones

Encore:
She’s in Fashion (acoustic)
New Generation

Today was the big day. Kanye West arrived at Glastonbury with his own brand of Yeezus-y goodness, set to wow the crowds and berate anyone who tried to stop him. Probably. I didn’t go to his crappy set because I was too busy being blown away by a breathtaking performance from Suede on the John Peel Stage. Brett Anderson had the audience in the palm of his hand and the whole band were on top tight form from start to finish. I’d waited for 15 years to actually see them live and it was well worth the wait.

I first got into Suede in 2000 when my first proper girlfriend bought me three Suede albums for my birthday. I didn’t know much about them outside the then-recent hit singles “Electricity” and “She’s In Fashion”, but she was a huge fan and I thought I’d go along with it. After all she was slightly older than me and seemed to know a lot more about music (and life) than me. Whilst the relationship sadly didn’t last much longer, those three albums (the Bernard Butler ones, if you’re interested) stuck with me for a long time through to the end of my education and subsequent career.

So it was a thrilling moment when Suede took to the stage and burst into “Pantomime Horse” and then “Moving” from their eponymous debut album. The fact they were crowd-pleasers shows how much of an impact that debut has had over the years, given both were actually album tracks. Brett Anderson looked as fit as he did when they first appeared on the Glastonbury line-up some 22 years ago. The years have withered neither the angst in his eyes nor the emotional electricity of the performances. He owned the stage in a way so few performers manage.

The next song was “Trash”, a timeless slice of outsider pop rock. They absolutely nailed it, the crowd went ballistic and the band used it as a platform to launch into a string of huge hits (and noted b-side “Killing of a Flashboy”), sporadically taken from various points of their career. It was a sight to behold and has fortunately been captured beautifully by the BBC who have turned a intoxicating live performance into a cinematic work-of-art.

Not many songs featured that post-date 1996 album Coming Up. Of those that did, “She’s In Fashion” stood out as particularly poignant. In its altered form as an slow acoustic song in the encore, the focus shifted more to the lyrics and melody in a way that was hidden by the oddly aged production of the original album recording.

“Pale Snow” and “I Don’t Know How To Reach You”, both new songs yet to be released, hinted at a lot of promise for the future material and will have the Suede fans around the world buzzing with interest. The former is a slightly sparse song built around a repeating guitar riff by Richard Oakes, whilst the latter has a slightly fuller sound and a catchy chorus that sits it alongside the great work they put out some twenty years ago.

For all the excitement around hearing their new material, being floored by a stunning rendition of “Beautiful Ones” will doubtless be one of the lasting memories of this festival for me and the many 1000s inside the rammed tent. It was a long wait but well worth it. If only Kanye could have been there to see it.

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Glastonbury Day Four: No Kanye, washed hair, Gaz Coombes, Gregory Porter, Jane Weaver, Suede and Paloma Faith

Today was the big day. Kanye West arrived at Glastonbury with his own brand of Yeezus-y goodness, set to wow the crowds and berate anyone who tried to stop him. Probably. I didn’t go to his crappy set because I was too busy being blown away by a breathtaking performance from Suede on the John Peel Stage. Brett Anderson had the audience in the palm of his hand and the whole band were on top tight form from start to finish. I’d waited for 20 years to actually see them live and it was well worth the wait. Being floored by a stunning rendition of “Beautiful Ones” will doubtless be one of the lasting memories of this festival for me and the many 1000s inside the rammed tent.

Earlier in the day, Swim Deep were completely lost on me as the first band of the day; Jane Weaver literally and figuratively blew me away on West Holts [1]; and both Giant Sand and Gaz Coombes proved to be solid choices at The Park Stage mid-afternoon.

  

Gregory Porter looked set to be a great way to see in the evening but we left a little underwhelmed. I actually blame it on his style being well suited to relaxation, meaning we ended up almost falling asleep. His record has been on constant play in my house at times this year and it translated well into a live show. I suspect it was a case of bad timing on my part, mixed with the fact we were absolutely shattered.

Fortunately Paloma Faith and Pharrell Williams picked the pace up with a couple of hit-packed sets that got the Pyramid crowd ready to start the Saturday party. Im a huge fan of Paloma and she was on top form tonight, playing tracks from all of her albums along with a memorable Jimi Hendrix cover. Her outfits are always talking points and this was no different. 

Paloma was very apologetic throughout, implying she made a misinterpreted comment in the media at some point. I’m not privy to this info as I’ve been stuck in a field for almost a week now, but who cares when she sounds this good? Inevitably whatever she said has seen her words twisted to sell newspapers and clicks.

I was shocked how many tracks of Pharrell’s I knew. Obviously he’s been around for a long time now and has produced many hits off different artists, but he’s an excellent artist and we were left wondering why he wasn’t headlining. When you’re partly or fully responsible for three of the biggest-selling singles in the last two years (“Blurred Lines”, “Get Lucky”, “Happy”, all of which broke the million mark on sales) you deserve to top the bill, especially when the act above you has had nothing of note out for a while. He’s one of the best frontmen I’ve ever seen, and it comes entirely from his cocksure confidence. My only criticism for Pharrell was that a couple of songs sounded like they were heavily reliant on a backing track, though perhaps my ears deceived me. 

I caught the end of La Roux’s set and she sounded spot on. She’s still underrated in my eyes and is slowly building up a solid catalogue for her live performances, which far outclass the recorded versions. If you like her style then make sure you see her this tour before she disappears on another hiatus.

I’m sure Kanye will be the most talked about act tomorrow outside the festival, just like Florence probably was this morning. Let them. With any luck the chat will have ran out by the time the festival finishes and I re-enter the real world. Anyone who was at the Suede performance will testify just how special that set was, even though it won’t grab headlines.

Oh and I managed to wash my hair. So that was nice.

[1] Sorry Jane. When your set started the bass was ridiculously loud. We loved it but we only lasted about ten seconds near the stage before retreating to a safer distance. We couldn’t take it but still loved it from afar – it wasn’t a reflection on you!