Since reforming with the original nucleus of Saffron, Tim Dorney and Jonny Glue back in 2009, REPUBLICA have been steadily rebuilding their profile with live shows and have been working on new material. The first fruit of their labours ‘Christiana Obey’ has just been released as an EP and has recaptured the feisty techno-rock aesthetic that was first showcased worldwide with the massive hit ‘Ready To Go’. Certainly, Saffron was looking forward to being out on the road again and told The Electricity Club: “If you don’t have fun being in a band, there’s no point doing it!”
Opening proceedings were Brighton’s KOVAK. With their singles ‘Killer Boots’ and ‘Radiate’ being playlisted on Radio2, there has been the perception of them being a just straightforward electropop act. But tonight, they caused a surprise by launching into two numbers which saw the quartet rocking out with minimal synth dressing. Sexy singer Annelies Van De Velde was a rock chick in her previous incarnations so this energy suited her well. But it snapped back into pop mode with the wonderful Italo groove of ‘Killer Boots’. The glitzy ‘Radiate’ received some extra six string bite while ‘Catchy Monkey’ displayed an impressive blend of pop, rock, synth and funky disco. Previous single ‘Living The Dream’ even came over like a great ABBA meets DURAN DURAN hybrid and possessed an energy that wasn’t apparent in the studio version. With Annelies making a great, charismatic front woman, KOVAK are definitely a name to look out for in the future.
Essex duo TENEK are on the cusp of reaching the next level, what with their song ‘Blinded By You’ being interpolated by RUSTY EGAN (who was in the audience to witness proceedings) for an upcoming vocodered stomper entitled ‘Welcome To The Dancefloor’. Tonight saw Geoff Pinckney and Pete Steer initiate new bassist Michael Steer into the fold and premiere two new songs from their just released ‘Another Day EP’. The title track hinted towards a maturer, almost American FM rock friendly direction while ‘A New Foundation’ took a few risks and even dared to go a bit dubstep. The neo-NEW ORDER ‘Elusive’ had people dancing while crowd pleasers ‘Submission’ and ‘Higher Ground’ kept the momentum going. However, their best song ‘What Do You Want?’ was sadly missing from the short, but well performed set.
As REPUBLICA took to The Garage stage, they got a rapturous welcome but just as ‘Bloke’ got started, there was a power failure. Saffron grinned thorough the commotion and bantered with the crowd but as soon as the sequences fired up, it was back to business with Saffron’s feisty persona. ‘From Rush Hour With Love’ followed and considering Saffron only had a knee operation a few months before, she was happily bouncing away and engaging the audience. Like two parts Toyah : one part Siouxsie at a warehouse party, Saffron provided the focus while Dorney and Glue acted as complimentary foil to recreate the punchy REPUBLICA sound. Mention must be made of the band’s new young 20 year old drummer Conor Lawrence who did very well syncopating along to the trademark sequences and basslines.
While ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ obviously tore the house down, new songs such as ‘Suck Baby Suck’ and ‘Christiana Obey’ showed that REPUBLICA still have plenty of spark and vitality in them. Certainly Saffron’s friend, model / singer SAMANTHA FOX and her pals thought so as they bopped away at the front with everyone else. The more sedate ‘Picture Me’ allowed Saffron to take a breather so that the show wasn’t entirely in-yer-face. And ‘Ready To Go’ was saved until the penultimate number of the evening, still retaining the zest and power that took it to the sports stadia of the world. But Saffron wasn’t done yet and returning for the encore ‘Pub Pusher’, she even strapped on a guitar to finish.
Full of fun and sounding good for the new ‘Millenium’, REPUBLICA are back with a vengeance.
The ‘Christina Obey’ EP featuring TENEK’s remix is released as download on 22nd April 2013 but is available as a CD at the remaining dates of REPUBLICA’s 2013 UK tour which include:
Leeds Brudenell Social Club (Tuesday 19th March), Glasgow Classic Grand (Wednesday 20th March), Nottingham Bodega Social Club (Thursday 21st March), Bristol Thekla (Friday 22nd March), Winchester Railway Inn (Saturday 23rd March)
Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
17th March 2013