Music: Saint Etienne

20130130-202822-500431where: Billboard Live, Tokyo Midtown
when: 23 January 2013
length: about 90-100 minutes, fifteen songs or so.

Again, I’m late with posting, so this happened three and a half months ago. But I’m very glad it did. For some reason, although I’ve been very interested in this band for a number of years, this is the first time I’ve actually seen them live (the same is true of Sigur Rós, who I’m seeing for the first time next week). I kinda jumped at the chance when I found out they’d be coming to Tokyo this year.

To be honest, it was basically all I could have hoped for. If anything I wish they’d played more songs. I was, however, in a cheap seat with a crappy view, and went alone (I actually knew one other person there, but he was sitting somewhere completely different). Sarah Cracknell was fabulous. The others kind of faded into the background.

I think the most interesting thing was seeing how eager some people were to dance. One woman in a kimono was up as soon as the music started, and one guy on the balcony was the only guy cheering at the start. Even more interesting were the people who at first didn’t seem so keen – one guy in the front row who was literally the closest person to Sarah was looking up at her for most of the concert as if she’d interrupted his meal, although later he showed interest and started boogying with everyone else. And just generally it’s funny seeing businessmen in suits starting to let their hair down.

Anyway, Saint Etienne’s a very old band now and not one that’s very popular anymore, and one thing that did disappoint me was how popular their very first single still is – it’s OK, but it’s a cover with a different singer. And just as a general point about concerts, I really don’t understand the encore convention. Why does a band go offstage to applause only to come back on a minute later to play the final two songs? Who are they really kidding with that?

I think I was just most happy that I got them to sign my CD and T-shirt afterwards. Yesss.


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