Stupid people belittle artists who manipulate style because they're uncomfortable with the emotionality it expresses. British superstars Suede--called London Suede in the U.S. for legal reasons--are as a consequence almost always sneered at by the American rock intelligentsia. But the band held worlds of contrivance, emotionality, and promise in its redolent, hysterical debut album. Suede was the sound of the dreams of misfits--the weepy, overemoting, self-invented singer Brett Anderson, and wondrous, vibrant guitarist Bernard Butler--translated into a barrage of baroque arrangements, rampant homoeroticism, and unapologetic glammed-out nostalgia. The catalyst to the band's stardom in Britain, the record died in America; the follow-up would seem to be their last chance. Sad to say that Dog Man Star has two too many words in its title, if you get my drift. A leadoff fanfare (pretentiously titled "Introducing the Band") heralds the arrival of nothing other than a somewhat flaccid group of songs whose only connection to the band that created Suede is an overweening arrogance. You can admire the silky guitar lines of "We Are the Pigs" and the delicacy of some of Anderson's lyric readings. But lacking are pop assaults on the level of the first album's "The Drowners" or "Metal Mickey." And absent those songs, those who would belittle the band are standing on much firmer ground. Suede's troubles were further compounded when Butler left the band. Its ability to reproduce the concussive attack of its one previous Chicago appearance would accordingly be questionable. Catherine opens. Tuesday, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Renaud Montfourny.