So here it is -- the moment where a normally stoic and disaffected alt-weekly music editor completely loses his fucking SHIT interviewing Britpop kickstarters SUEDE just a few hours before their set at Coachella, the band’s first performance on U.S. soil since 1997. It’s the same old show -- it’s the killing of a fanboy, oh.
Back to Saturday afternoon. A half hour before our scheduled interview time it didn’t look like it was going to happen. The band was delayed getting to Indio and restrictions on getting to the Artist Area were suddenly clamped down. Times were moved, locations changed three times, my head spun and palms were damp. We even discussed bringing the band back out to the VIP area to do a “quick 5 minute” chat outside under the sun (Suede sunblock SPF 5000).
But thanks to one stealth and determined publicist from Cornerstone Promotion and a whole lot of hustle back and forth across the polo grounds, we were able to secure 10 minutes with Suede’s Brett Anderson and Simon Gilbert. “If less, great, thanks!” said the tour manager before slamming the trailer door, a maneuver that did little to muffle the sound of Bright Eyes’ set a few hundred yards away on the main stage.
I kicked off the interview by apologizing on behalf of the city of Boston for Suede having their gear stolen outside the Paradise in 1997 (rolled the old dice on that, but Anderson mentioned it first), and from there we discussed the band’s 2010 resurrection, playing the early albums in their entirety, why they hate fan-favorite single “Stay Together” so hard, and how to roll into Coachella carrying the cross of Britpop in front of thousands of kids who dance like medicated cripples to Sleigh Bells. I enjoyed the look of disgust when I suggested lost b-side "Whipsnade" was a great Suede track.
So, ok, deep breath.
- My finest interview? Hell no.
- Ideal conditions? Not even close.
- Friendly interview subject? Not traditionally (but they were very accomodating here).
- Weird noises popping up and random blokes stumbling in to deliver warm Mexican food dishes? Why yes, that's no distraction at all, we just got started.
- But... am I satisfied kinda by my ability to somewhat keep it together and relatively focused in front of the band that forever changed my life at age 15 and still turns me into a murky puddle of giddy teen-girl obsession goo every time I hear them? Sure fucking thing.
Below is the full set list of their gig later that night, 10:40 pm PST on Saturday, April 16 in the Mojave tent, Coachella 2011. Suede's show was a raw burst of rock energy, a pretty powerful declaration that a band many thought were done in 1997 still have something left to prove. Of course, the set was limited to '90s hits, with only Head Music's "Can't Get Enough" coming from outside the Big 3 mid-decade albums, but even as a nostalgia act, Suede deliver one hell of a live show. The crowd was maybe half of that for Cut Copy (who played the same slot/tent the night before) but those who were there certainly enjoyed it. Suede was never for everyone, especially on these shores. But the ones who appreciate Suede fucking adore Suede, and the many smiles and screams and sing-alongs around the Mojave tent brought me back to the Supper Club NYC in the mid-90s.
Here's our flipcam video of Suede performing Trash as well as classic early anthem "The Drowners" after the set-list jump, which I originally did not post to On The Download because I'm fucking singing falsetto over the whole fucking thing while shaking my bits to the hits. Whatever, I do what I want.
SUEDE @ Coachella 2011, full set list:
The Killing of a Flash Boy
Can't Get Enough
The Asphalt World
The Beautiful Ones