I’m going to be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I made my way inside the glorious Forum Theatre in Melbourne’s CBD. St.Germain is a name dripping in intrigue for many, synonymous with the development of the French electro/disco scene alongside French producers such as Cassius and Daft Punk in the 90’s.
A quick head count around the office reveals that not a lot of people are entirely sure they know who St.Germain is. A pioneer in the genre, it seems an insult to the man. But a quick blast of So Flute from Tourist and all of a sudden sighs of recognition fill the air. “Awh yeah, I know that one!” people start to exclaim. “Heard it at brunch last week”.
St.Germain‘s slinky, jazz-influenced electronica found it’s way into many a cd collection in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Most people were introduced via a cool Dad or an artistic Uncle and have it locked away ready to come out when looking to impress their guests at a dinner party with their new ‘avant-garde’ music taste. The preferred soundtrack to many a bar, cafe or jazz lounge, St.Germain‘s first two albums Boulevard and Tourist are seminal works in electronica and to this day remain influential to many producers and musicians worldwide.
The key to St.Germain‘s anonymity may be the fact that he disappeared for a good decade or so, without a release to his name. Carefully planning, researching and experimenting with new musical flavours, It was music to true fans’ ears in 2015 when he released Real Blues and announced his return to brunches everywhere.
St.Germain‘s new self titled album has a distinctly different flavour to his previous works, with a strong African influence instantly apparent. It should not be surprising (however it was), to walk into the Forum Theatre and see a full 7 piece band accompanying St.Germain on stage holding an arrangement of musical instruments most of which I cannot name.
St.Germain‘s band are without doubt one of the most talented on the planet. Each member has their ‘moment’ on stage and take turns to bust out a highly intricate solo or flourish to leave the almost packed out venue speechless. Special mention to the Brazilian percussionist for one of the most breathtaking conga solos of all time.
Old and new fans fill the beautiful Forum Theatre and old and new fans are well looked after, with old hits such as So Flute and Rose Rouge drawing massive cheers, whilst managing to fit seamlessly within the newer, African-influenced material such as Real Blues, Hanky panky and Sittin’ Here. So well received was the band’s live performance, rapturous applause at the end of the set led to not one, but TWO encores from the band. And when each encore consists of a single track performed over a 12 minute period, you know people meant it when they demanded more.
Booties were moving and fingers were raised in reckless ecstasy throughout the entire set, with St.Germain himself Ludovic Navarre content to watch from his perch at the back of stage behind a mixing desk, letting his talented backing band (quite rightly) take centre stage. After a solid 90 minutes of exhilarating musical performance, it was time for the crowd to disperse into the night, feeling content with their decision to witness live the man who soundtracked all those dinner parties over the years.