I Heard A Rumour....Suede aka Crushed Kid live at The MOTH Club - 5th September 2022
Updated: Sep 7, 2022
Rumours should not be trusted. They are usually bollocks or bravado. The exception is Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, which is magnificent and if you don’t agree, go have another listen and a serious word with yourself.
So when I heard a rumour that a gig by new band Crushed Kid was in fact a secret gig by Suede, I would normally be sceptical. However, my friend Martine is thoroughly trustworthy and a gig / music fanatic. When she texted me on Monday to say she thought Suede were playing under this pseudonym that evening, I knew it was definitely worth a look.
A quick scan on the internet showed Crushed Kid had no social media presence bar a strange article in The Quietus pronouncing them as a new band with a Simple Minds / Killing Joke sound. There was a fantastic track to listen to, but the vocals were inelegantly disguised….this rumour was looking promising.
But disaster, my five minute due diligence check meant that by the time I went to The MOTH Club’s site, the gig was sold out. But Martine was to the rescue again, texting me to say there are still tickets on SeeTickets, so I took a punt and bought two for £38. Even in these days of spiralling costs, this was worth a gamble.
Mrs JO’B was up for it so we arrange to meet and off we trundle. As we are on our way, the jig is up and NME have published the rumour it’s Suede, with pictures of their gear arriving at the venue.
The MOTH Club is tiny - a capacity of 300, it’s an old servicemens’ club. We have seen other gigs here (Bessie Turner, The Boo Radleys and many more), it’s rough and glitzy all at once. And it’s intimate and sweaty. Perfect for Suede and their seedy, sordid and dirty charm and stories of London life.
We get to the venue, passing a gaggle of people our age, clad in black and Suede t-shirts - it’s looking good! But in the queue, there are people wearing Crushed Kid t-shirts. A quick scan shows these are hastily made (though very well done) tops, extending the ruse - brilliant fun and real dedication. And if we were still in any doubt, Simon, Suede's drummer, is outside having a cheeky fag before the gig. One wearer kindly agrees to pose for a picture (I assure her I am here with my wife and not a pervert). The t-shirts are cool!
As we enter, we nab a booth and wait for Martine, Pete and their friends. We chat to Steve, Hayley and Hayley who take the other side of the booth. They followed Suede around last year in Europe and are a lot more hard core than little old us. We only saw Suede at Ally Pally - they found that gig rough, but again were more adventurous than us, piled up close against the barrier (Suede, Ally Pally, 2021). They are charming and considerate (Steve is very tall, so careful to make sure Mrs JO’B can see).
We all think they will be on early but we listen to set by a post punk DJ, which is cool, but we were ready to go without this warm up. The pre-gig music and DJ sets the tone for where Suede are. Bunnymen, Banshees, Magazine, Damned, PIL, Kraftwerk, Neu!, A Certain Ratio, Modern Lovers, MBV, Joy Division, early Human League, Cure, Josef K, Orange Juice, Grace Jones, and of course The Fall - all good stuff, and no glam. This is definitely punk Suede…(see playlist at the end of this review).
They finally emerge on stage and announce “we are Crushed Kid", before they launch into the new album's opening track, She Still Leads Me On. Brett looks stunning, windswept (thanks to the electric fans on stage) and lithe as ever. He's a post-punk Jagger with extra swagger tonight, playing probably the smallest crowd he's played to in decades. Brett, continuing the ruse, thanks the audience for a "lovely greeting for our debut gig”...and then we are played the whole Autofiction, in track order.
Personality Disorder is another stomper, it's got a definite Killing Of A Flash Boy vibe. 15 Again, the second track released to promote the album, has a real Magazine sound. This is all a far cry from their last album, The Blue Hour, which was all cinematic brushstrokes. That album was a more subdued Dog Man Star. This is just down and dirty Suede, possibly one Richard has got to lead, given his love of punk?
Three songs in and it's magnificent. And LOUD! Bad Man On The Stage live comes across as a Fall-like belter. The Insatiable Ones, their dedicated fans, hug the front of the stage, stroking Brett and screaming "we love you Simon"! It's all very lovely.
Drive Myself Home is back to more old school Suede territory, the piano led ballad and a contrast to the post-punk sound so far. The rest of the album/set sticks to the new sound, though What Am I Without You? has a more Glam-rock feel. Appropriate, as it feels like a reworking of Bowie's "gimme your hands cause you're wonderful" lyric, the song dedicated to the audience, the fans...Brett declares it's the question every artist has to ask themselves.
The set closes with Turn Off Your Brain And Yell - a terrible title but a fantastic song. The standout for me though is It's Always The Quiet Ones, which all Joy Division drums, with a dash of New Order synths. It's fabulous.
And that's it. No encore, no old songs, just the new album. A sweaty Brett declares "We have been Crushed Kid. You have been absolute amazing. Thank you for putting up with us. It’s a long way back to the top, but we’re gonna make it". And they depart.
Suede are reborn, yet again. The new stuff is wonderful and unlike other bands 30 years into their career, they can pull off a gig with no old songs at all and it's still fabulous.
The new album, Autofiction, is released on 16th September. I cannot wait!