music review: Saint Etienne at ONCE Somerville– September 24, 2017


Saint Etienne
ONCE Somerville
Sunday, September 24, 2017

Blissful, positive vibes dominated the sold-out Saint Etienne show Sunday night at ONCE Somerville. The London band played a mix of older songs – a grooving “Kiss and Make Up,” “Lose That Girl,” an energetic “I’ve Got Your Music” and the popular Neil Young cover “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” –as well as songs from the band’s new album Home Counties—the brilliant “Magpie Eyes,” “Whyteleafe” and slow jam “Take It All In.” It’s the first tour for the band in five years. Three musicians, including a violin player, and a singer joined Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and Sarah Cracknell onstage, which provided a grand, club sound. “You are familiar with Good Humor it seems,” Sarah Cracknell said after playing “Lose That Girl.” She also noted: “It’s a lot warmer here than it is in the UK.” It was a sweaty show because how can you not dance at least a little bit to Saint Etienne? Cracknell is an engaging and genuine front-person. She interacted just enough. An enthusiastic mostly GenX crowd danced and shouted out song requests. One couple said that their wedding song twenty years ago was “Tonight.” I saw two couples with children in tow. The band played for about an hour and a half including a three song encore. The show featured lots of groovy, potent bass lines [especially in “Help Myself”], dreamy, sweet harmonizing and overall warm fuzzies. It’s sparkly, fresh happy music.

Set list:

Kiss and Make Up
Lose That Girl
Out of My Mind
Who Do you think You Are
Hug My Soul
Magpie Eyes
I’ve Got Your Music
Take it All In
Like a Motorway
Split Screen
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Nothing Can Stop Us

Stop and Think It Over
Train Drivers in Eyeliner
He’s on the Phone


September 26—Brooklyn, New York—Music Hall of Williamsburg

September 27—Washington, DC—U Street Music Hall

September 29—Chicago, Ill.—Park West

October 2—Seattle, Wash.—Neptune

October 4—San Francisco, Calif.—The Fillmore

October 5—Pomona, Calif.—Glass House

October 6—Los Angeles, Calif.—The Fonda Theatre

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