Manic Street Preachers And Suede Live Review: Double header provides dream night out

90s heroes Manic Street Preachers and Suede deliver a back-to-back knock out in the Irish capital. Suede win on points.

Suede Dublin July 2 2024

by Pat Carty |
Updated on

Manic Street Preachers and Suede

Trinity Summer Series, Dublin, July 2, 2024

The Welsh flags on the amps and Shirley Bassey on the P.A. make it easier to guess who’s up first on this Dublin stop of a co-headlining tour that’s a dream line-up for any rock’n’ roll fan who started paying attention around the early nineties.

Cajoling acts of the calibre of Suede and Manic Street Preachers into sharing a bill (and there was similar action in Cork a few weeks back with Crowded House and The Waterboys) may make economic sense to both bands and promoters, but it’s the punters who are the real winners.

Manic Street Preachers don’t take any prisoners, kicking off with You Love Us (Pistols-quoting guitar riffs), Everything Must Go (windmills and jumping) and the melancholy genius of Motorcycle Emptiness. “All we want from you are the kicks you’ve given us,” could be the audience’s singalong message to both bands.

“There’s gonna be no rock'n’roll bullshit – look at this shirt!” declares James Dean Bradfield, alluding to attire that would pass muster at a civil service interview, although Nicky Wire makes up for it by managing to make cool the kind of shopcoat that a floor supervisor in a '50s car factory might wear.

The festival-like set times mean both bands do roughly an hour and 15 minutes and plenty of hits, so we get marvellous renditions of From Despair To Where (dedicated to “my sweet boy” Richey Edwards), You Stole The Sun From My Heart, Your Love Alone Is Not Enough (as much a riff as a song, but a very good riff), and even the Theme From M*A*S*H which catches fire once Sean Moore takes over to speed it up.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 02: James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers performs at Trinity College on July 02, 2024 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Debbie Hickey/Getty Images)

But on the other hand, their career “spans a lot of albums”, as Wire puts it, and a lot of good ones at that. So relative rarities like the new wave guitar-drive of To Repel Ghosts from 2004’s Lifeblood and Orwellian (hard to think of a more Manicsy title) from their recent The Ultra Vivid Lament are equally welcome, as is a beautiful This Is Yesterday, “one of the more reflective moments from The Holy Bible”. Even better is the tick-tock of Futurology’s Walk Me To The Bridge giving way to giant chords that sound like ABBA covering Status Quo’s Whatever You Want.

Of course there’s a stirring A Design For Life (“You want to sing, do you?”), the tricky riffing of La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh) and a closing, never-more-timely If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next. But the devil is in the details, showcasing a band with a catalogue of rare depth. They tell the audience we’ve been mega, but they were pretty great themselves.

If recent interviews are anything to go by, Suede and the Manics have been friends since touring together in the early '90s - hardly surprising, given their shared ground as outsiders who were there (the Welsh men a year ahead with their debut back in ’92) just before Cool Britannia/Brit Pop. They also endured while lesser bands drove their buses into the ditch.

If Manic Street Preachers play a fine show, Suede are operating on a different level from the start. Maybe it’s because it’s their turn to go on last, when the crowd are properly warmed up and the light is fading (other dates might tell a different story), but tonight belongs to them. Brett Anderson is a man possessed from the off, down on his knees for Trash and leaping off the monitors before offering a clapping and arse-shaking dance during Animal Nitrate. “It’s time to release the animal,” he tells the crowd but he’s the one let out of a cage. Comparisons are unfair: Bradfield was weighed down by his guitar, but Anderson should be running a college course in how to be a frontman. He may be somewhere in his mid-fifties, but he vibrates like a frustrated teenager.

Anderson swings his microphone as if attempting to take out low-flying birds during The Drowners, then he’s pressing the flesh in the crowd, roaring his band on from the front row. Little wonder he takes a break with The 2 Of Us from 1994’s Dog Man Star, lying on his back for the first few verses. But then he’s on his knees in another fit of glorious histrionics before remounting the monitors for more pleading.

On it goes, through It Starts And Ends With You (the mic is cast away so he can concentrate on the wriggling), a heavy Film Star, and the “losing myself” glam pounding of New Generation. Richard Oakes, Mat Osman, Simon Gilbert and Neil Codling are all on point, but all eyes remain on Anderson. His claim that 2022’s Autofiction is Suede’s best album (“I’ve got graphs to prove it”) might be questionable, but She Still Leads Me On proves they can still knock out a great single. Then, lest anyone on this cold Dublin cricket pitch still harbours doubt, he destroys the place with She’s In Fashion, So Young, an utterly explosive Metal Mickey, and the masterstroke ending of Beautiful Ones. “There’s only one word,” admirable Anderson reminds the crowd who are putty in his hands as they sing along.

Tonight, Manic Street Preachers were as outstanding as they always are, but Suede were better than anytime this writer has ever seen them (and MOJO is old enough to have been there when we were all still young and beautiful). If all nights out were this superb, none of us would ever stop in again.

Setlist

Manic Street Preachers

You Love Us

Everything Must Go

Motorcycle Emptiness

Suicide Is Painless (Theme From M*A*S*H)

You Stole The Sun From My Heart

To Repel Ghosts

This Is Yesterday

Your Love Alone Is Not Enough

Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier

A Design For Life

La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)

Walk Me To The Bridge

Tsunami

Orwellian

From Despair To Where

No Surface All Feeling

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

Suede

Turn Off Your Brain And Yell

Trash

Animal Nitrate

The Drowners

15 Again

The 2 Of Us

Antidepressants

It Starts And Ends With You

Film Star

New Generation

Saturday Night

She Still Leads Me On

Shadow Self

She’s In Fashion

So Young

Metal Mickey

Beautiful Ones

Photos: Debbie Hickey/Getty

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