St. Etienne

St. Etienne

I-Spy, Seattle, WA • September 22, 2000

Entering the same club I had been in the night before to see Trans Am, I was surprised by the similarity in the size of the audience — another sold out show — and also at the differences within the audience. Do people who like St. Etienne just dress better than Trans Am fans? Or was there some other conspiracy going on? Regardless, the line to get a drink was just as long, and I waited, as there were no opening acts, just a DJ (Bob Stanely) spinning vinyl from years that happened before I was even born. It seemed like the crowd was grooving to the ’60s girl-group tunes that were pumping out from the speakers, but it also seemed that people were getting a bit sweaty, a bit impatient, as they waited for more than an hour before the vinyl spinning stopped and the lights dimmed to blue.

The guitar… a red light… two girls on the side of the stage, dancing. I’m not sure if this is the band, or just another teaser… the girls shimmy and shake to the guitar, and then the rest of the band takes the stage, breaking into a solid song, and Sarah Cracknell glides across the stage to the microphone and the crowd goes wild. As wild as they can get, all pressed in like sardines at this point.

I’m not sure if the Go-Go Girls are a good idea, as they are definitely not displeasing to watch, but they seem to take away from the songs. A little distracting to the groove, but the groove stayed true. St. Etienne pulled a little from their earlier hits and singles, but this is Seattle, and we all wanted to hear the Sound Of Water. St. Etienne didn’t disappoint. The pop songs thrown together with totally danceable techno beats, the harmonies and melodics seducing and dancing with you. A nice surprise for me was a beautiful swooning version of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” — yeah, sing along with me — and, of course, the audience never moved as much as they did when Sarah shouted out “Perhaps you know this one…” and the band broke into “Heart Failed (In the Back of a Taxi).” The show moved us until there was nowhere else to move, it ended… and we went home singing.

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