STEREOLAB + NOW – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 11.06.19
Tonight we were extremely fortunate in catching with highly influential English-French avant-pop quintet Stereolab down at the Concorde 2 on Brighton seafront.
The band originally formed in 1990 and ran until 2009, when they took a decade out and now thankfully they are back on the case. On 3rd May this year, they started a reissue campaign of their seven albums, beginning with 1993’s ‘Transient Random Noise-Bursts With Announcements’ and 1994’s ‘Mars Audiac Quintet’ as expanded and remastered editions on vinyl, compact disc and digital formats.
As my mate reminded me tonight, that we both saw the band perform ‘French Disko’ on tv many many moons ago and we discussed the performance at work the following day and said how fab it was. Click HERE to view that actual performance.
This eventually led us to Hylands Park in Chelmsford on Saturday 17th August 1996 for the inaugural ‘V Festival’, where we saw Stereolab for the first and only time, until tonight that is. I can remember that special day very well indeed, as we also caught Pulp, Supergrass, Cast, Gary Numan and Jonathan Richman.
Down the years the Stereolab lineup has had several changes. The most well documented being the Australian born singer and guitarist Mary Therese Hansen, who was a band member from 1992 until her untimely death in 2002. In her time with the outfit she recorded six studio albums.
Tonight’s lineup consisted of founder members (and former couple of 14 years) Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier, along with Andy Ramsay, Joseph Watson and Xavier and Muñoz Guimera.
Many of the bands that we have reviewed, have plainly given a nod in some way to Stereolab as influencers in their sound. However tonight, it dawned on me whilst watching their set, that they themselves have acquired influences from krautrock giants Neu! and early Kraftwerk, thus incorporating a repetitive motorik beat with heavy use of vintage electronic keyboards into their sound, as well as nods to freestyle jazz and even a slight funk thang thrown in.
This concert had sold out in hours of its announcement and so I knew that it was going to be rammed. The punters were an eclectic bunch, but were clearly here to enjoy the same career-spanning sounds. I myself, was so convinced that the aforementioned ‘French Disko’ would be bar far the best track of the night, but no, it was usurped by a terrific rendition of ‘Lo Boob Oscillator’. I’m pretty certain that it got the biggest applause of the night. It was like listening to music akin to Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’, it was that good.
There were three surprises for me this evening. The first being that I had totally forgotten how diverse the Stereolab material can be, and so there were several big hits with me, but sadly a couple of misses too. The second was that there wasn’t any merch available whatsoever, unless I mistakenly somehow managed to miss it all as I got into the venue early and parked myself at the front. The third surprise was the total absence of any official photographers in the pit. There simply weren’t any, other a guy recording the performance for the band. You would think that something this important in town that someone would have been there snapping away. Thankfully I grabbed some shots and the band inspired me to get creative, hence the different styles of shots.
All in all it was a memorable night out.
Stereolab setlist reads:
‘Come And Play In The Milky Night’
‘Need To Be’ (french version)
‘Lo Boob Oscillator’ (french version)
‘John Cage Bubblegum’
More information on Stereolab can be found HERE.
Support this evening came from a London outfit called now, (with all lower case letters) who performed seven songs and for me personally were a rather mixed bag indeed. Having said that, the crowd appreciated them in the main. I enjoyed their use of vintage analogue synths with sounds that I hadn’t heard for a while and also appreciated the drumming as well, but the vocals and other mini keyboard work wasn’t up to scratch. Their final number was the standout track.
Find out about them HERE.
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