Brett & Bernard stay together.
15 Dec '04 - Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler apppeared on stage together for the first time in over a decade as their new band The Tears made their live debut at the Oxford Zodiac last night (Tues).
Butler's last gig with Suede was at Edinburgh Queen's Hall on February 12th 1994 but the formerly estranged pair have clearly slipped effortlessly back into the groove.
"the formerly estranged pair have clearly slipped effortlessly back into the groove."Appearing before a soldout crowd of hardcore Suede devotees, some of whom had flown in from the States and Japan for the gig, the band refused to rely on their history together, playing 12 entirely new songs - most from their forthcoming album, but also a couple of songs likely to be used as B-sides.
The mood was surprisingly upbeat throughout, although speaking to BBC 6 Music after the show, Brett Anderson did promise some "much darker stuff" when the album emerges in March 2005.
The new band - also featuring a drummer, bassist and keyboard player - unsurprisingly bears a strong resemblance to Suede, although strangely they often sounded more like late Suede, when Bernard had left. But there were plenty of classic Anderson-Butler compositions in the set, most notably the florid Dog Man Star-esque ballads Apollo 13 and A Love As Strong As Death (performed with Bernard on keyboards and Brett on vocals, in the style of Suede classic The Next Life)
There were also trademark Suede-style anthems like Beautiful Pain, Brave New Century and Refugees, likely to be the band's first single. Brett has clearly re-discovered his knack for evocative lyrics - many of the songs seemed like they could be about the Anderson-Butler relationship - indeed Apollo 13 was introduced as being "about a doomed relationship".
Another song, Fallen Idol was introduced as being "about Pete Townsend". The evening lacked some of the drama of early Suede shows, both Brett and Bernard looking far more relaxed than they did when last on stage together, but it's clear that one of the great songwriting partnerships of recent years is right back in business.
The band play Heaven in London on Thursday. The full set list for the Oxford gig was as follows:
Brave New Century
Feels Like Monday
A Love As Strong As Death (encore)