More than a year ago, specifically in August of 2009, I went to the University of Georgia to spend a week in a laboratory learning some new techniques to enhance my research. I stayed pretty much smack in the middle of downtown and had a short week to enjoy Athens, which has become one of my favorite towns. One night, instead of sitting in the hotel reading, I went to a bar just a block or two from my hotel called the Little Kings Shuffle Club. The bar is mainly one large room, with some really nice windows that opened out onto the street. It was very mellow when I arrived there, only a few people were in the place. I sat down at the bar and before I was greeted or even noticed by the bartender, a white Chihuahua trotted across the bar to greet me and ask for some attention. As I was introducing myself to the dog, I noticed the music playing. I had never heard this music before but it did sound familiar to me. I ordered a drink and then asked the bartender if this music was the Tindersticks. It was, a song called “Sweet Release” from the record, Can Our Love… I was a Tindersticks fan for a while in College, but I lost track of them. How had I missed this record? It was great and, what, from 2001? How many of their releases had I missed? Very soon I would find I had a lot of catching up to do.
So, I have spent the last year catching up with the Tindersticks, who have released eight albums (not including numerous soundtracks for films), and all of them are great. It was this reason that I was very excited to see them play live in Nancy at L’Autre Canal, just a few minutes walk from where I now live. Tindersticks are from Nottingham, UK, so I’m not sure how frequently they’ve played in North America. I don’t ever recall seeing them on tour. I’ve found that shows start promptly in Europe, so with getting home from work, going for a quick run and eating some food, I had already missed the opening band, whose name was Roken Is Dodelijk. The room was quickly filled to the breaking point. It’s been a while since I have felt so crammed at a show, and as you can see my picture from the show was poor because of it. The band came on and played the song “Sweet Release” first which was somewhat ironic for me considering that song was my re-introduction to their music. Their setlist was mainly focused on songs from the last two albums which have been released on Montreal’s Constellation Records. Tindersticks have been playing almost 20 years together so as a band they are incredibly polished. Honestly, one of the best shows I have ever seen. The band did two encores and played for a little over two hours.