When I was in London, I suddenly realised, via Twitter, that Saint Etienne were playing a show on the Saturday night of my visit. One frantic IPad booking later, one of my concert dreams was coming true…I was going to see Saint Etienne in the city that is their inspiration for much of their music and films.
And it was their music and films that were celebrated, as the much of the concert showcased their new film, How We Used To Live, with the band playing the soundtrack live in the second half of the show. Most of the music was lovely new instrumental textures, written by Pete Wiggs, but it also included the lovely Sarah Cracknell song Ready Or Not, the only part of the soundtrack that isn’t new music. The film showed London in the post-World War 2 era (up until around 1980) with a lot of nostalgic images including some trains for this railway lover.
The first half of the concert included a mixture of old Saint Etienne favorites, new vocal songs, and obscure songs by London bands. The setlist for this part was
Milk Bottle Symphony
Gently (Spandau Ballet song)
Carrie-Anne (new song, not Hollies!)
Slightly Drunk (Squeeze song)
You Never Know (new song)
Sorry (new song)
Burning The Boats (Madness song)
Overall, a lot of new material and less familiar favorites were played. But this is a band who are extremely prolific (each of their albums has come with at least another album’s worth of good material), and it creates a lot of anticipation for material to come. It was a special show, and a special opportunity, and I’m very glad to have been part of it.