About the Gig
Another great Subculture night. Taking a female inspired tip, we put on Jaymay, Candie Payne and Saint Etienne – a truly beautiful night. Jaymay kick off proceedings playing a delicate acoustic set, hailing from New York and with a debut album out on Heavenly in November, Jaymay is definitely a name to watch out for in 2008 (one of our favourite new artists).
Candie Payne then took things up another level with a semi-acoustic set especially for the 100 Club. As one reviewer described her “Forget everything that’s happened since 1972 (except perhaps Amy Winehouse who is her nearest contemporary) and wallow in a slick, pumping Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound meets Dusty Springfield production, with a good measure of smoke-filled downstairs dive blues stirred in for seasoning”. Perfect for the atmospheric 100 Club.
And then on came Saint Etienne to a rapturous welcome. Sarah Cracknell typified the strong (and beautiful) front woman and Bob and Pete revelled in the chance to pump out the string of seminal hits that defined the ‘Summer of Love’ in a club that they love.
Only Love Can Break Your Heart and Nothing Can Stop Us Now, - from the ground breaking ‘Foxbase Alpha’ debut album - through to Join Our Club and Who Do You Think You are. Stunning live, it made you remember what a superb and influential band Saint Etienne are (and that ‘Foxbase Alpha’ should be in everyone’s record collection). Playing encore after encore – the audience wouldn’t let them go.
All of the above was interwoven with brilliant female musician inspired sets from Sheila of Cha Cha Charming and the genius on the decks that is Terry Hall. As ever at our nights, all the acts mixed with the crowd in the relaxed vibe that is a Subculture night and then went onto a special after show round the corner at The Heavenly Social - London’s coolest bar. Terry Hall was persuaded to play another impromptu 2 hour set – for a perfect night of musical bliss.
1990: Only Love Can Break Your Heart is the first single. One of Ibiza's earliest anthems, harbinger of 'indie dance.'
1991: Album FOXBASE ALPHA "A dazzling diverse display of sampledelic imagination" (Melody Maker)
1992: Avenue - eight minute long "single of the decade" (Simon Price). Years later, Pete is accosted by Trail Of Dead members who claim to play it once a week.
1993: SO TOUGH “’So Tough’’s packed with so many triggers and booby-traps, so much compacted history, that it becomes a kaleidoscope of groovy Britain.” (Select)
1994: Album TIGER BAY - traditional folk melodies meet electronica, nobody picks up this baton for the best part of a decade. "Somehow they've created a virtual pop reality where deep house, medieval balladry, pneumatic Jamaican dub, and snare-smacking northern soul co-exist and are of equal value. The Etienne aesthetic prevails" (Melody Maker).
1995: He's On The Phone - first collaboration with Brian Higgins, Dancing Queen meets A Well Respected Man. Number 11 hit single.
1996: Sit out Britpop to avoid becoming too famous. Sarah records her Lipslide solo album; the boys sign Kenickie and Denim to their Emidisc label.
1997: CONTINENTAL - Japanese only album sells 40,000, not released here for contractual reasons.
1998: GOOD HUMOR - recorded with Tore Johansson at Tambourine in Sweden. Sylvie reaches number 12. "A warmer, more acoustic sound, every bit as smashing as their singles collection" (Rolling Stone)
1999: Soundtrack to ‘The Misadventures Of Margaret’ (Parker Posey and Brooke Shields in Carry On Woody Allen romp); PLACES TO VISIT mini-album released in US and Germany "Like the sound of windscreen wipers in a car travelling on the ring road of a new town" (Ian Macdonald, Uncut)
2000: SOUND OF WATER - recorded in Berlin with To Rococo Rot. "Saint Etienne make records the way Natalie Wood made movies - totally classic" (Rolling Stone), "Every twinkling ambient moment is remarkably
humane... rocket deep in pop's starry skies" (Spin). The Riddle, a single with Paul Van Dyk, is a number 7 hit.
2001: Sub Pop release INTERLUDE album in the States. "Saint Etienne are nothing less than the British Supremes for our generation" (Sweater)
2002: FINISTERRE - "Saint Etienne distilled to a fine essence" (Q), "their most far reaching album since Fox Base Alpha (Uncut)
2003: Finisterre becomes a film, made with long time video collaborator Paul Kelly, sells out three nights at the Barbican and plays at festivals in New York, Berlin, Stockholm and Tokyo. "I urge you to get a ticket" (Observer), "astonishing" (Daily Telegraph)
2004: Make ‘Today's Special’ series on London cafes for Channel 4 (Pick Of The Day, Guardian). Curate the ‘Hymns To London’ night at the Barbican. Work with Brian Higgins and Ian Catt on new songs.
2005: TALES FROM TURNPIKE HOUSE is released to rave reveives.
Initial copies of the album feature a six track children's album
2006: The band premier their new film ‘What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day’ at the Barbican which leads to them being invited as Artists In Resident at London’s South Bank Centre by director Jude Kelly.
2007: The bands third full length film with director Paul Kelly ‘This Is Tomorrow’ is premiered at the Royal Festival Hall. A Fred Perry sponsored show at the 100 club in July leads to an exclusive 7” single presented free with Illustrated Ape magazine in October.
St. Etienne : London ICA
The twin cine screens are the first clue, the businesslike run-through of old teasures like 'Nothing Can Stop Us' early in the set another. For tonight Saint Etienne are bravely premiering new album, 'Finisterre' and its attendant short films in their entirety. After the West Coast pop direction, the folktronica album and the Eurodisco years, this is the Et forsaking acid house for the arthouse.
Such experiments are seldom subtle. Just as ancient rockers Pink Floyd used to perform 'Money' against footage of cash registers, pounding analogue synth monster 'New Thing' is illustrated by cranes and building sites (new things, see?). Most of the films attempt to show the capital in a stark, unforgiving light. This is the London of kickabouts by burnt out scooters, boarded up pubs and derelict suburbia. Best of all is 'Shower Scene', which depicts people scuttling about the city in driving rain for three minutes before a delightful acoustic guitar breakdown soundtracks rainbows peeking from behind the office blocks.
In this context, death disco opus 'Like A Motorway' makes an obvious and welcome encore. Resisting the temptation to camp it up with the rest of them this year, Saint Etienne remain brilliantly, artfully, detached.
NME – October 2006