Date: 8th June 2017
Venue: Gateshead Sage 2
Words & Photography: Victoria Ling – Victoria@137imaging.co.uk
There was definitely a lot in the air up and down the country on June 8th 2017. Yes, that election had a lot of people talking and got the country buzzing with passion and as we waited for Saint Etienne we had the words “skilled musicians with over twenty five years experience” and “for the many not the few” pop up on the screen above the stage adding to the atmosphere. The band then enters and as the music begins even Sarah Cracknell says we have her permission to leave the gig to go and vote. What a way to start a show as they burst into ‘Lose That Girl’ that seems to be a crowd favourite. We are given a great range of the back catalogue but they have also recently released the ‘Home Counties’ album – an album taking in the day to day snapshot of life in the home counties and it is not until the fourth number do we delve into that album with ‘Whyteleaf’ going into ‘Magpie Eyes’ and they are received greatly.
We know Saint Etienne as Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and of course Sarah but on this tour they have an expanded band that add a new edge to the performance. It is noted they normally travel with a cello player who is missing tonight but multi instrumentalist Joe more than makes up for this as he moves onto the violin now and then and also long time backing vocalist Debsy gets a huge roar of approval from the lively audience as does the feather boa that Sarah wraps around her neck time and again. And after a few pleas one gig-goer gets his prayers answered with ‘Like A Motorway’. In fact the audience for most part really added to the atmosphere. In many cases when many talk/shout throughout a gig it can be a spoiler but for some reason this night bar a few occasions it made the night have that extra edge and the interaction, especially from Sarah could not be faulted as her replies to the crowd and even at one point a dedication to a guy that runs up to the stage with arms and voice raised is adorable.
This is the second time I have seen Saint Etienne live and both being at The Sage. The first time was dubbed as a Christmas show and received mixed reactions and in a sense I think there was something missing that night although I thoroughly enjoyed it but this tour we could not have asked for more. From the opening number to the closing one every single part of the set list was perfect. Everything just seemed to fit. Although Sarah is the front woman every member on the stage shone, even if you couldn’t see them you could feel them that really, forgive the pun but ‘NOTHING CAN STOP US’ from enjoying a Saint Etienne show when every part of the show just flowed as it did on this night.
Listen to ‘Home Countries’ here
Through the eyes of Lil Vik