Review: Suede, Rebecca Ferguson and The Pogues at Thetford Forest

Suede at Thetford Forest Suede at Thetford Forest

Monday, June 16, 2014
4:19 PM

We look at the first three acts that performed at Thetford Forest’s 2014 line-up.

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Mandatory credit Lee Blanchflower 

Shane Macgowan & the Pogues on stage at Thetford High LodgeMandatory credit Lee Blanchflower Shane Macgowan & the Pogues on stage at Thetford High Lodge

Suede, reviewed by David Bale.

Britpop pioneers Suede played to an enthusiastic crowd at Thetford Forest last night, with charismatic front man Brett Anderson’s voice as special as ever.

Among the highlights were renditions of “Animal Nitrate” and “The Wild Ones’’, both singles from the band’s heyday from 20 years ago.

The largely middle-aged audience showed that fans of a certain age will always have a soft spot for them, though perhaps frontman Brett Anderson was a bit taken aback that many members of the audience had brought picnics with them to the concert.

The band first shot to fame in the early 1990s and their early singles and albums topped the charts, including “We Are the Pigs”, “This Hollywood Life” and “Killing of a Flashboy”.

The band r-formed for some well-received live shows in 2010-11.

And last year their sixth studio album “Bloodsports” was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews, and was marked as one of the great rock comebacks.

Last night they reeled out many of their greatest hits to an ecstatic crowd.

Earlier, support acts Ed Harcourt and The Hosts had also been well received.

Suede are playing gigs this summer as part of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live concert series where an eclectic mix of acts perform in magnificent woodland locations around the country.

Rebecca Ferguson, reviewed by Mariam Ghaemi.

One of the joys for me of listening to music live is its raw, unpolished quality.

And if the singer happens to have hay fever and is gigging in a forest, their sniffs end up becoming part of the performance too.

X-Factor star, Liverpudlian lass Rebecca Ferguson, clearly seemed to be soldiering on through her concert at Thetford Forest on Thursday.

But even though she evidently wasn’t feeling too great, I was still able to appreciate the lovely tone of her voice – which has earned her so many fans – through the live experience.

She sang hits from her first album Heaven – including Too Good to Lose and Teach Me How to Be Loved – as well as a selection from her second album Freedom and also performed a few covers, including Prince’s Raspberry Beret, Katy Perry’s Roar and Tom Odell’s Another Love.

Rebecca is truly stunning in person, with a voice to match, but her own performance lacked energy – because of the hay fever? – in complete contrast with her two backing singers who managed to own the stage.

Her support act singer-songwriter Phillipa Hanna, who is currently unsigned, also had fantastic stage presence.

Considering the concert coincided with the start of the World Cup, there was a respectable turnout, but, for me, the gig still managed to retain an intimate feel.

I shared a lovely moment with my husband when Rebecca sang Nothing’s Real but Love – which we played during our wedding ceremony in 2012 – and a couple even got engaged during the performance.

The Pogues, reviewed by Peter Walsh.

It wasn’t so much a Fairytale of New York as one in Thetford Forest as much-loved Celtic rockers The Pogues arrived in town.

Supported by Billy Vincent and Fat White Family, The Pogues took to the tree-lined forest stage on Saturday night for what would prove to be a 90 minute set brimming with Irish- folk-infused punk rock.

For one night only the heart of the forest setting which straddles both Norfolk and Suffolk was turned into a traditional Irish themed pub with the gig more like a jig and the crowd clearly loving the craic.

The band rolled back the years with tracks from their impressive back catalogue, including Dirty Old Town, A Pair of Brown Eyes, Bottle of Smoke, Fiesta and the glorious Irish Rover.

Years of drugs and alcohol misuse and abuse might have taken its toll on Shane MacGowan but the legendary frontman proved he still has the ability to command the stage.

The chain-smoking, chain-drinking singer, who had his own drinks table next to his microphone, left the stage on more than one occasion during the evening but each time returned to an ovation which showed the warmth and adulation with which this iconic musician is held.

It might have been the band’s first appearance in East Anglia for more than a decade, but it will live long in the memory.

The Pogues’ world-wide hit Fairytale of New York might not have featured but the band did at least ensure a Fairytale in the forest – even if Roy Hodgson’s England could not manage the same in the rainforest of Manaus a couple of hours

later.

The gig was part of The Forestry Commission’s 2014 Forest Tours and followed appearances by Suede on Friday night and Rebecca Ferguson on Thursday.

And with the likes of Boyzone, Katherine Jenkins, and Deacon Blue still to come, it has been a summer to remember in East Anglia.

• For more information log onto www.forestry.gov.uk/music

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