I went to two concerts in three days last week, I don’t think I even did that at the height of my gig-going early 20s. The two shows and artists couldn’t have been more different, except that they were both fantastic. All the videos here were shot by my lovely wife at the actual shows.
First up on Thursday night was Father John Misty with his California-flavoured country-rock. The audience was all plaid shirts and beards, and for an encore the band did a cover of Canned Heat’s “On The Road Again” which should give you the general vibe. Old-timey dude rock can still be a wonderful thing with a band as tight and skilled as this lot were, and Father John (aka Josh Tillman) is a terrific front man, all slinky Jagger-esque moves and laconic stoner humour. Man has a hell of a voice too.
The next band we were seeing would have to be very good to top that show which made me a little nervous as the next band was Saint Etienne. Sorry, I mean OMFG SAINT ETIENNE!!!!!!
St. Et exist in an alternate pop universe from the very trad, dad Father John Misty, with the “band” being Pete and Bob standing behind a bank of synthesizers and Sarah Cracknell (swoon) vamping it up like the indie disco queen in her sparkly dress and feather boa — the only “real” instrument being the cowbell played by backing singer (and semi-legend) Debsey Wykes.
Whatever nerves I had evaporated a few seconds into the opening number “Lose That Girl”, and the wildly enthusiastic cheers and gleeful, arm-waving singing-along from the audience that greeted every number made me realize that the place was filled with people like me: fans from way back who have never had the chance to see them live before and were just beside themselves with joy that finally, here they were. I think Sarah and the band were pleasantly taken aback by the delirious noise and appeared quite chuffed by it — at one point I saw Bob exchange a sheepish grin with Debsey that seemed to be saying “Blimey!” It was a magical night for me too, I was smiling and dancing and singing the whole time.
With a set that included “Like A Motorway”, “You’re In A Bad Way”, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now” (the highlight for me), and “He’s On The Phone” we had plenty to go mental for. On the way there I joked to the wife that for me this was like seeing The Beatles which was obviously meant as jokey hyperbole, but by the end it didn’t seem that way.
(That isn’t me singing along very badly in the background of the Saint Etienne videos by the way.)