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Review: St Etienne/Kazimier

Sarah Cracknell has still got it, says to Tom Palmer. Pictures by Darren Aston

Published on May 25th 2012.

Review: St Etienne/Kazimier

WHAT strikes me, and probably most Saint Etienne fans, is that they are not much bigger. 

With a huge back catalogue of brilliant pop songs, and the stunningly beautiful Sarah Cracknall singing, you would think they were a record company's wet dream. But when you see them live you begin to suspect that they are happy with the cult level of fame they have achieved.

Sarah - smiling, joking and her quirky dancing - is one of the happiest front singers I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

But the real pleasure is the great songs that she, Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley produce.

Last night was a bit of a greatest hits set, something I would normally criticise a band for, but not Saint Etienne. 

Opening with the sublime Like a Motorway, they then treated us to You're In a Bad Way, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Nothing Can Stop Us Now, Sylvie, Good Thing, He's On The Phone, and the brilliant Who Do You Think You Are - all real pop gems. 

PhotoSarah Cracknall

But it's important to point out that these are not just regular tunes: Saint Etienne are much cleverer than your average pop band. With beautifully layered, 60s style harmonies, backed with early 90s style dance music, they stumbled on a winning formula, one that has kept the small but loyal fan base very happy over the years. 

Highlight was an old album track called Spring, beautifully sung - a real hairs-on-the-neck moment. Tracks from their new album, Words and Music, slid seamlessly into their live set. 

We didn't get to hear the mellower side of Saint Etienne tonight, which any fan will tell you is equally as uplifting as their pop side. 

Joe Public wake up please, and take on board the fantastic Saint Etienne, it's only been, what, 20 years?

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