Razzmatazz tour supporting St Etienne
An audience recording exists.
When students are prepared to pay touts £20 for a £7 ticket, you know you've arrived. Saint Etienne's tour to promote their second album So Tough is a sell-out. But those expecting a recreation of that dreamy record must lower their expectations. Saint Etienne live are not the finished article.
Perhaps the problem is that Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley, their prime movers, stand behind keyboards, their on-stage presence strictly limited, leaving Sarah Cracknall alone to forge the band's personality. It is not an easy task and proved burdensome: her spaciness does not overpower, even with the aid of an electric pink boa.
Admittedly they got off to an unfortunate start, a spanner in the works spoiling their opener, Nothing Can Stop Us. After that the songs rather merged creating a sound that only peaked during Spring and their final tune, Conchita Martinez, from the new album.
Pulp, on the other hand, were magic. A shy personality is not a complaint they suffer from with their theatrical front man, Jarvis Cocker, Jaggering his way around the stage. Sheffield's best-kept secret, they have existed in various guises since the early days of the Human League but are only now receiving recognition. Their current single, Razzmatazz, follows last year's brilliant single. Babies, as they continue their peculiar journey through sex and V-neck sweaters in Sheffield.
The high point was the orchestral, energetic disco beat of She's A Lady and Your Sister's Clothes, a song about "a girl wearing her older sister's clothes in order to get off with her older sister's boyfriend''. Very Tracey Barlow. Very good.