Concert Review: Suede, Manic Street Preachers, November 24, Massey Hall

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment


I’m not sure if there was an official name given to the Manic Street Preachers/Suede co-headlining tour which just wrapped up with its final date last night at Massey Hall, but based on the night’s performance from Suede, might I suggest the Brett Anderson Tries His Best To Catch COVID tour?

I kid, of course, but it certainly seemed like the Suede frontman has moved well past the need for social distancing. He made that fairly clear as he ventured out into the crowd multiple times throughout the evening to get up close and personal, encouraging the audience to get out of their seats and move up to the front, hugging various audience members, and encouraging mass singalongs. I’m not sure if he went extra hard tonight because it was the last night of the tour (and possibly, he hinted, their last North American show for a good while, or maybe ever?) or if every night has been like this, but either way, Anderson is one of the most engaging rock frontmen around.

With the energy Suede brought to the table, some bands might have been daunted to follow that, but luckily, Manic Street Preachers are not just “some band.” While James Dean Bradfield may not be quite as animated as Anderson is on stage, he’s certainly no slouch himself and he and the rest of the band proved as much as they ran through a set full of classic songs from throughout their career alongside some well placed covers in the form of “Suicide Is Painless” and The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary.” Like Suede, The Manics also seemed inspired to make the last night of their tour a memorable one.

Bassist Nicky Wire noted that though they’ve played several Toronto venues over the years, including the Phoenix, the Danforth and “the Opera House of Toronto”, playing Massey Hall this time around was “the pinnacle.” Bradfield also noted earlier in the set that they were glad to be gracing the same stage that Neil Young, Rush and, yes, Suede, had played before them and later paid homage to Rush by playing a little snippet from the intro to “Closer To The Heart” at one point.

Closing things out with “A Design For Life”, Manic Street Preachers ended off a great night of music from two bands who’ve been at it for a while and have garnered dedicated fanbases over the years (I did notice a lot of grey hair in that crowd). And though the Manics noted that, unlike Anderson, they wouldn’t be giving out any group hugs, both they and Suede put on amazing performances that definitely had people going home happy. And hopefully didn’t have a certain Suede frontman going home sick.

Song of the Day: Suede – She Leads Me On

Posted on by Ricky in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

she leads me on

When Suede first showed up on the scene in the early ’90s with their flamboyant and sometimes over the top style, the last thing you would have thought they would be described as would have been “resilient.”

Yet here we are in 2022, and Suede has just released their ninth record. It’s hard to believe this is also their fourth record in the past decade, coming back from having survived the departures of Bernard Butler, a wickedly bad drug addiction that led to a terrible record, and a long layoff which would have signaled the end for most bands. Suede is, above all else, resilient.

The past decade has seen a resurgence and to the surprise of many, this new Suede has released four really good records. Much like their tour mates Manic Street Preachers, Suede has spent the decade redefining an experimental sound. Autofiction marks a return to the early days of the band. After the conceptual restraint that was The Blue Hour, it is pretty clear that this record was one made during the pandemic with the intention that it be be played live.

The album is full of singable choruses and a few tracks that are primed to be singles (whether the concept of singles still exists is another story). This leads me to the first track off the record. “She Leads Me On” has all the hallmarks for a classic Suede single – multiple sing along opportunities, high pitched choruses, and references to someone who is a “she.” Vaguely similar in structure to “New Generation,” it’s a refreshingly good straight up rock tune, something that for whatever reason seems rare these days, and I’m here for it.

Suede and Manics are touring North America next month in a tour you probably know about but damn, get your tickets if you haven’t already.

2016 in Review: Ricky’s Favorite Shows

Posted on by Ricky in Year End Reviews | Leave a comment


2016 is now closing. What a year. Anyways, here are some of my favorite shows of the year, because you care deeply about my opinions.

Suede, Primavera, June
Anytime you can see your favorite band in one of your favorite cities in the world in the summer time, you just gotta do it. This Suede show was a hit fest from beginning to end and set the bar high for the rest of the bands playing Primavera.

Here’s my song by song review.

Daughter, Primavera, June
The girl from Daughter breaking into a smile halfway through a serious song because the entire crowd was singing along warmed my heart so much I might have died.

Hall & Oates, June or July, Toronto
Hard to find a better band to enjoy live on the lawns of the Molson Amphitheatre on a crisp summer night. It’s been too long since they last came around.

Vince Staples, SXSW, SPIN party
This guy was hilarious and the Spin party was it’s usual awesomeness with free booze, good sun and a stellar lineup. I definitely remember him being funny and it made his set pretty good.

El Conjunta Nueva, SXSW
Anytime you have a chance to see a Mexican band singing hard rock mariachi covers of modern pop songs while dressed up in Luchador costumes, you gotta do it. Also, they were playing in between wrestling matches featuring actual luchadores, so yeah it was pretty memorable. Only in Austin.

Estelle, SXSW, McDonalds Loft
Estelle played the McDonald’s party. Free fries, free booze and Estelle singing “American Boy.” What more can you ask for? Also, the discovery that Estelle actually has more good tracks was pretty inspiring.

Everything NXNE
Haha jk.

LCD Soundsystem, Primavera
LCD Soundsystem came back fast and furious this year and their show at Primavera was just an amazing show and a great party. A very swift reminder of just what a really great band sounds like live. Perfect festival show for a perfect festival band.

Primavera Sound Review: Suede, Daughter, LCD Soundsystem, June 2, Parc Del Forum

Posted on by Ricky in Primavera | Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.57.19 PM

Primavera Sound is pretty much the gold standard for music festivals. Why? Let’s see

  • Located in a gorgeous city, easily accessible by public transit
  • On concrete, so no messy mud pits
  • Too many food options to count
  • Always amazing lineup
  • You can see the sea from the grounds, its actually right beside the water
  • Never have to lineup for bathrooms, because they are quite organized
  • Starts at night, so you can do touristy stuff during the day

And it goes on and on. You really need to go. Unfortunately, I was only able to get tickets for one day and was too cheap to get tickets for other nights. So here is a brief recap of one of the nights. Knowing how I write, lets use the world “brief” loosely.

Suede – Night Thoughts
My favourite band performed their new album in it’s entirety as one of the first must see sets of the night. While not my favorite Suede album, Night Thoughts is still an extremely solid album and watching it live in a theatre while a music film plays in the foreground was very unique. The lead actor in the movie reminded me of Alex Ovechin which made me laugh because man, they always get eliminated by my Penguins. “Outsiders and “I Don’t Know How to Reach You are very good tracks, but I don’t know how I feel about them playing behind a screen while a film plays in the foreground. Still, I appreciated the experience. It’s like, I really like Caesar salad, and this one time in Morocco, I had a deconstructed Caesar salad. It was still Caesar Salad, but not exactly the same, I still enjoyed it but part of me just wanted a god damn Caesar Salad.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been three or four years since I saw Daughter in a tiny venue at SXSW, and now they are playing a massive stage at Primavera. Their new album is excellent. Halfway through one of the new songs, the crowd started singing along and Elena Tonra broke into the biggest smile mid track and my heart just melted. It’s always nice to see good artists make it big without compromising their work.

Food break – I had a pork sandwich from a food truck. It was only okay, the meat to bun ratio was not to my standard, but I had to remind myself – Ricky, you are in Europe, bread is the star here. Bread is the star.

Air – It’s been six years since I last saw Air, and actually, six years before that so I guess I see Air once every six years. That’s information you don’t need to know, but now you do. They played a low key set that was peppered with hits and the end of the set featured the 1-2 punch of “Sexy Boy and “Kelly Watch The Stars, which served a notice as to how ahead of the time Air really was back in the day. They closed it off with “La Femme D’argent.” I can’t think of a better band to play to the setting sun. Sleek, polished and timeless, Air is always a must attend show.

Food Break 2 – Because I am a pig, I had another meal here. Ramen. I saw a ramen food truck and thought, why, I must try this!. Never try ramen from a food truck, it was subpar and just a grade better then cup noodles. They claimed to have cha siu but when I got to the meat, it was just meat cubes. That is not cha siu. Sad.

Dead Buttons – Stumbled on this Korean bluesy rock act at one of the tinier stages. It’s odd to see a Korean act where it wasn’t five hot girls in mini skirts prancing about but these guys were actually quite good. Clearly inspired the Black Keys, they are worth a look.

Floating Point – Not entirely sure who they are, but they were a tight instrumental band that played a pretty hypnotizing electronic set. One of the keys for this band was that they were playing Rayban stage, which had a bunch of places for people to sit down, which was an offer I simply could not refuse.

Tame Impala – Drawing one of the biggest crowds, it’s hard to believe I saw Tame Impala at the Horseshoe just a few years ago. Their brand of psych rock has really taken over, although I still feel like they lack that anthem that would make them truly worthy headliners.

John Carpenter – Yes, THE John Carpenter, of horror movie fame. He played his famous soundtracks with a live band and man, does this dude have swagger. Wearing sunglasses, chewing gum and dropping some classics on synth – I want to be this cool when I’m in my sixties. I heard the Halloween theme live, so that’s pretty fucking awesome.

LCD Soundsystem – WHERE ARE MY FRIENDS TONNNNIIIGHT. Man, LCD Soundsystem is a band that is 1000x better live then on album. When it’s live, those eight minute tracks that always seemed a bit too long on cd JUMP to life and you really do understand what they are trying to achieve. Their percussion section is so strong you have no choice but to move. They haven’t missed a beat since I last saw them and their set was filled with anthems and hits. I don’t even know if half the songs they had were actual hits, but live, with that band and James Murphy growling into the mic, they were hits to me. It was just one gigantic dance party cumulating with their epic song All Yr Friends. Part of LCD Soundsystem’s charm is that their lyrics hit you in places you don’t expect when you least expect it. There’s a certain element of now to it that I can’t really explain, but at the end of the set, when James asks you where are your friends tonight? I was very glad to have at least two of them there with me, even if they were lost in the crowd. Now if only I could have found that crying kid at the end of their documentary.