Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Join Our Club


We saw the Euro pop confectioners Saint Etienne at Irving Plaza on Monday night. It was my third time seeing them live and they did not disappoint. Singer Sarah Cracknell, lovely as ever, sounded great and was her usual fun self onstage.

The band's catalog is so huge these days that I was afraid that many of my favorites would be neglected, and they were. But the new album, "Tales From the Turnpike House," is an instant classic, so "Stars Above Us," "Teenage Winter" and "Lightning Strikes Twice" already felt like old favorites (plus I'd bought the album on import last year, so they weren't entirely new; the U.S. version just came out and has a slightly different line-up).

Other highlights included a haunting, dim-all-the-lights version of "Like a Motorway" (a guy at work and I have debated what that song really means; do you have any ideas?), "People Get Real," "Split Screen," oldie favorite "Spring," the heart-pumping "Action" and a rousing encore of "Nothing Can Stop Us" (I never realized what a sequel to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" that one really is).

Sarah said they'd had a hard time making it to the gig (this was Stop 1 on the tour, so weather-related travel delays I'm guessing), so I felt like they played a shorter set than last time around (perhaps they were a bit tired). That being said, I couldn't help but feel like the crowd -- mostly gays, Asians, and hipsters who seem gay or Asian (or both) -- was a lot older than last time. I recall the entire front half of the audience bouncing up and down for extended periods of time during song after song at the Bowery Ballroom in '99. This time only a few people kept up (and, I'm afraid, I wasn't one of them).

Of course, if they'd done "Stormtrooper in Drag" like last time there's no telling what might have happened ...

(Photo via Joe.My.God, who I'm fairly sure was standing in front of us)

Set list: Lightning Strikes Twice / Sylvie / Who Do You Think You Are? / Don't Back Down / Oh My / A Good Thing / Split Screen / Side Streets / Last Orders for Gary Stead / Spring /Stars Above Us / Teenage Winter / Action / Like A Motorway / Nothing Can Stop Us Now / People Get Real

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