Live review: Tindersticks at the Sage Gateshead
Saturday evening might be the prime time for cinema-going, according to the 1964 Drifters single Saturday Night at the Movies, but indie rock veterans Tindersticks are happy to treat their fans to a visit to the pictures any night of the week.
They’re currently on an Arts Council England-subsidised tour of cine-concerts consisting of them playing their latest album, The Waiting Room, in full against a backdrop of films shot to accompany it and released on a DVD included with the deluxe version of the LP, a No 71 hit in January.
The five-piece act, formed in Nottinghamshire in 1992, are staging Saturday nights at the movies, including one at Coventry last weekend and one in Bristol tomorrow, May 7, but they’re doing every other day of the week too as part of their nine-date UK tour, including a show at the Sage Gateshead on Wednesday.
This was their second appearance at the venue, and it was a far more rewarding experience than their last one, another cine-concert in 2011 made up of tunes from the band’s soundtracks for six movies by the French film director Claire Denis as that time round frontman Stuart Staples was unable to sing due to laryngitis, restricting them to an instrumental-only set.
This week, however, Staples was in what fans of his, myself included, would consider to be fine voice, though those impervious to Tindersticks’ undoubted charms occasionally, and somewhat unfairly, liken it to Vic Reeves’ club singer impressions on the comedy panel show Shooting Stars.
The Waiting Room segment of their two-hour show was as would be expected. It’s a fine album, if not one of their very best, and the films screened behind them – premiered at France’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in March and shot by an international cast of directors including Christoph Girardet, Pierre Vinour, Gabriel Sanna, Rosie Pedlow, Joe King, Gregorio Graziosi, Richard Dumas and Denis again – made for a rewarding change from the usual concert light show, although few bore much obvious relevance to the 11 songs making up the album.
The film part of the show was bookended by a selection of other material at the start, eight tracks kicking off with a cover version of Peggy Lee’s 1954 film theme song Johnny Guitar, and a three-song encore comprising three songs from 2012’s The Something Rain – Show Me Everything, This Fire of Autumn and A Night So Still – following on from another, Medicine, played earlier on.
Most of the material not taken from The Waiting Room, their 10th proper LP, was of recent vintage, though they did play two tracks from their self-titled 1995 second album, She’s Gone and Sleepy Song, and one from 2003’s Waiting for the Moon, namely My Oblivion.
All were delivered well, with just the right mixture of restraint and gusto, though a few more better-known tunes would have been welcome.
As nights out at the movies go, this was no popcorn-accompanied Imax blockbuster, but it was a splendid one worthy of a far bigger crowd than the half-capacity turnout it got.