Technical glitches, unrehearsed conversation with the crowd, and everyone having a fucking great time: exactly what an intimate show should be.
This week saw the eagerly awaited debut show of SAINTE, a musical project from We Are The In Crowd’s (WATIC) Taylor Jardine, Mike Ferri and Cameron Hurley.
The three, along with two touring musicians, descended upon Northern Quarter’s sold-out, quirky basement venue, Soup Kitchen, to prove that the two years away from performing haven’t hindered their ability to command a stage, whatsoever.
The night started with an energetic acoustic set from Carmelle singer and The Maddigans guitarist, Seb Sanders. Despite having to battle with multiple tech issues, the one-man support act was more than successful in warming up the crowd. His seven-song set list, including a warmly-welcomed cover of Weezer’s Beverly Hills, kicked the night off excellently.
Crowd anticipation grew before SAINTE’s arrival to the stage, with an excited buzz around what to expect of the new venture. The set begun with one of the more melancholy songs from the Smile, and Wave EP, Lighthouse. Flawlessly delivered, the track provided the perfect transition between spirited acoustic support set and dynamic full band performance. The solemn start soon gave way when the quintet kicked into the peppy Eyes Are Open: the latest release from the aforementioned EP.
The powerful, punchy performances continued through With or Without Me, White Lies and Feels So Wrong, with Jardine roaming the tiny stage, weaving around her bandmates and equipment, to greet and interact with as many eager faces as she could.
The uplifting track If You Ever Feel Alone was introduced with a genuine, heartfelt speech around Manchester’s inspirational handling of their ‘shitty year’, which was proceeded by an applause from all band members directed towards the crowd. The main body of the set was then vivaciously closed with a personal favourite, Technicolor.
With all EP tracks covered, the excitement grew amongst the crowd as to what the encore would contain. Of course, those with visibility of the set list could see exactly what was coming. With the introduction of ‘we know where we came from’, the band gave a beautiful performance of WATIC’s Come Back Home, albeit slightly hindered initially by a rogue monitor.
The energy then immediately picked up when SAINTE launched full-force into WATIC’s The Best Thing (That Never Happened); not one person in the 200-strong audience was standing still. A personal highlight of the night was screaming the lyrics ‘You’ll crack just like the rest when I break your fucking jaw’ at Jardine; a highlight that was undoubtedly shared by every other crowd member in the packed-out venue.
The set was closed with a climactic performance of WATIC favourite, Rumour Mill, with the band leaving the stage to a chorus of cheers and applause.
Small, intimate shows are undoubtedly a favourite of mine, and I would more than willingly present Thursday night’s display as prime justification. With that said, I think it’s safe to say that SAINTE have only just begun on a journey to something magnificent.