Techno punk rockers Republica returned to the stage at South West London’s Under The Bridge venue, situated under Chelsea FC’s famous Stamford Bridge ground, to play a set of hits, fan favourites and new material.
Huge during the mid to late 1990s Britpop scene, the London four-piece, led by Saffron Sprackling, along with Tim Dorney on an array of synths and keyboards, Johnny Male on guitars and Conor Lawrence on drums, returned to the London stage following a reformation in 2010 and a string of co-headline shows with fellow Britpoppers Space in 2014. Following their well received 2013 E.P. Christiana Obey, the band were out to share even more new material, this time from their currently in-progress new album.
In advance of tonight’s gig, fans had not been treated to any sneak previews of the new tracks, although they had been promised a more electronic sound than previous records, predominantly through the use of more analogue synthesisers. This teaser only heightened anticipation for the gig and forthcoming album release.
Opening their 14-song set with eponymous debut album track Bloke, the fiery front woman cautiously avoided the two pints of beer that had been spilled across the stage by excited fans and demonstrated that absolutely nothing had changed in the past two decades when it comes to the energy she puts into her performance. Next up was From Rush Hour With Love from sophomore record Speed Ballads that simply increased the energy in the crowd.
Divulging that Republica are in the process of putting together songs for a third album, Saffron explained that close friend and collaborator Ben Dead Silence worked at the Under The Bridge venue, boasting of its superior sound system. An idea to try out a few of the new songs at the venue had turned into a full-blown gig for friends and fans.
“This is one of the new songs”, the Ready To Go hit-maker explained as she introduced Glittering. “We only wrote it a few weeks ago and this is the first time we’re playing it live”. The new song was quickly followed by hit single Drop Dead Gorgeous which had the crowd singing along with every word once again.
Following German Accent, two more new songs were given their live debut first Rollerskates, which the 47-year-old front woman explained the band had finished the other day and from the forthcoming new record Hallelujah which, despite being a new song, had the West London crowd enamoured.
From 2013’s mini album came Christiana Obey followed by the band’s biggest hit and instantly recognisable tune Ready To Go, which had the crowd bouncing from Male’s guitar intro. Mixing the old with the new allowed the band to introduce yet another track New York, which Saffron explained the band had only written during the prolific previous week.
Speed Ballads song Try Everything was due to be the only encore track but the crowd screamed for more. So the night finally came to a close with another round of the band’s trade mark song Ready To Go, the band enjoying every second of it as much as their adoring crowd.
Saffron’s stage presence was as ever electrifying, which explains how the singer has forged successful careers on stage both musically and as an actress.
The new tracks were very well received by the West London crowd, which was made up of a mix of hard-core fans, friends and family. The new material is thoughtful and well written, and certain to appeal not only to the fans that have supported Republica since the outset but also to a younger audience seeking to cement their influences in the alternative music scene.
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Photography and live review by Kalpesh Patel. Republica @ Under The Bridge on 29/05/2015
Nicola and Kalpesh from RockShot recently interviewed and photographed Saffron and you read about it here: Saffron Interview