Saint Etienne, Concorde 2, Brighton, December 13

First published in The Critic by

There can be few bands that know their audience as well as Saint Etienne.

The dance-pop three-piece have been touring solidly since 1990 and it seems they’ve aged at the same pace.

Sarah Cracknell’s easy conversations with the front rows were reminiscent of a meeting between good friends and it’s no stretch to imagine that many of the crowd’s seminal experiences would have been soundtracked by Saint Etienne.

The band’s songs tell stories that are incredibly relatable – tales of sibling rivalry, regretful nights out and men who never call. This isn’t to say the songs are generic – far from it – Saint Etienne’s ability to go over such well-covered ground while remaining fresh is remarkable.

While perhaps missing the energy of bands of a younger generation, Cracknell’s delivery still holds the same delicate and graceful quality from the early 1990s, even if her dance moves haven’t held up.

In the first encore they even made time for some seasonal cheer with a pretty cover of Chris Rea’s Driving Home For Christmas, before fittingly rounding off with I Was Born On Christmas Day.

It was a joyful show which left you with a desire to go home and rediscover Saint Etienne all over again.

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