Saint Etienne may be old, but the Syn, featuring founding members of Yes, is really, really old

The genteel soul-groove of Saint Etienne was first introduced to the United States via 1991's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," but the feminine subtlety of Sarah Cracknell's voice and her band's version of a dance anthem didn't stick to Yankee ribs the way the samples and shouts of more bombastic groups like the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy did later in the decade. Yet remaining a consistent Top 40 act in the U.K. all these years has allowed Saint Etienne to evolve into a multimedia organism all its own. The group curates an annual film festival at the prestigious Barbican, and there have also been two Saint Etiennehelmed documentaries: an exploration of the group's beloved London (Finisterre) and a film about a Leeds United footballer (What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day?). While the band's new collection is Tales From Turnpike House, the recent survey Travel Edition: 1990-2005 is a great way to take in career highlights. Even better, catch Saint Etienne live on Friday, Feb. 17, at the Fillmore. Local hopefuls Every Move a Picture open; call 346-6000 or go to www.thefillmore.com for more info. -- Tamara Palmer


At an age when most prog-rock pioneers happily sit at home in their English country manors, practicing druid spells or whittling ornate garden gnomes, 58-year-old Yes bassist and founder Chris Squire apparently decided it would be more relaxing to resurrect his mod-era outfit the Syn and embark on a club tour of the States. Virtually unknown on this side of the Atlantic to anyone outside of a handful of die-hard Yes nerds and collectors of obscure U.K. psych 45s, the Syn built enough of a following with its ambitiously structured, fuzzed-out rock that it got tabbed to open for the Jimi Hendrix Experience for the band's London debut. Only two singles ever saw the light of day -- the songs "Grounded" and "14 Hour Technicolour Dream" remain frequently compiled favorites -- but a 2003 reunion of the group paying tribute to late keyboard player Andrew Jackman reconnected Squire with original singer Steve Nardelli and planted the seeds for a retrospective collection of unreleased tunes and last year's full-length debut, Syndestructible. Graybeard prog nuts should be out in force to see Squire and company -- with longtime Yes drummer Alan White along for the ride -- rock the intimate confines of Café Du Nord this Sunday, Feb. 19; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com for more info.-- Dave Pehling

 
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