Some of you will know that Saint Etienne are one of our favourite local bands; we’ve caught them live throughout the nineties and noughties, everywhere from Hammersmith to The Forum. Last night, we saw them for the first time in the ‘teens (if that’s what 2012 is?) at none other than the Palladium, dream destination of X Factor contestants appearing in the Wizard of Oz.
And isn’t Sarah Cracknell still lovely? Dressed in a short silver sequin frock, feather boa, black tights and clunky boots, she skipped on stage, every inch the yummy mummy raiding the dressing-up box on a wet afternoon. By the second number, ‘Who Do You Think You Are,’ she had the whole audience, originally relieved to be sitting in such nice posh seats, up on their feet and dancing (tamely). We stayed that way for the next hour and a half.
With energetic support from Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs at the back, vocals from Debsey and some excellent guitar riffs from ‘Steve on guitar’, Cracknell gave her all. And it was satisfying to hear equal cheering for the oldies and the goodies such as ‘Nothing Can Stop Us’ , and tracks from the new album like ‘Popular’, which had a rather jolly backdrop of a 70s TOTP run down. But half way through ‘A Good Thing’ super-smiley Cracknell corpsed, and forgot the lyrics, admitting that this happens all the time, ‘sometimes up to five songs a night. Sorry Mark!’
A shout out for age-appropriate teenagers during ‘When I was Seventeen’ was greeted by some good-natured tumbleweed, but the enthusiasm of the more mature audience was enough. Ever polite, Cracknell ended by exclaiming many a heartfelt thanks to all the happy applause and love.
Special mention too to cute duo Summer Camp who kicked off the evening, a worthy and graceful support. And it was nice to see a fellow audience member from the Sparks gig the other week amongst the crowd. Seems grown up gigging is really quite a small world.