MILAN, Italy -- When singer Stuart Staples and his band Tindersticks played
at the Magazzini Generali recently, they seemed -- at first -- a little out of
By the time they'd finished their set, however, it was as if they were made for the
Magazzini Generali is a warehouse transformed into
a club. It's also one of the hippest places in Milan, famous for having launched
jungle and drum & bass here. Just a couple of months ago, Roni Size's Reprazent
played the club, and even famous designer Giorgio Armani was spotted in attendance.
During the night of Nov. 27, a skinny, blond club attendant wandered about the
warehouse, doing his best to ignore the gloomy pop-music being created on stage
by Britain's Tindersticks. The attendant offered invitations to the disco party
after the show. "Have you enjoyed the concert?" read the black and white
leaflet. "Magazzini Generali invites you to stay when the evening starts again
with the party."
The evening had already begun, when Tindersticks, playing their only Italian
date, took the stage, opening the set with "Another Night In," from their last
album Curtains. The decadent sounds created by the combination of piano,
guitar and violin seemed to take on an even more ominous sound in the large open
space of the warehouse.
Staples moved like a skilled crooner from yesteryear, creating an intimacy with
his baritone voice and his graceful moves. "She's gone, and it's quiet now," he
whispered as the music to their tune "She's Gone" played softly. Despite voices
of the disinterested rising from the back of the club, he kept most of the crowd
focused on the stage.
"Every time I see them, they get even better," said Alessandro Magri,
27, who'd seen the band's previous Milan shows. "They can make you
forget they're playing in a place like this -- and without the string section."
As the concert progressed, Tindersticks ran through fan favorites such as "A
Night In" and "Talk To Me" with their traditional six-man lineup, including
Dickon Hinchcliff manipulating his violin to create the melodies he'd originally
arranged for violas and cellos.
After the final encore of "Mistakes," the band closed the show. Unfortunately, songs such as
"For Those..." and "No More Affairs," originally included in the band's set list,
were not performed.
Meanwhile, a few regulars of the club waited for the "real" evening to begin.
The stage was cleared of the instruments and the lights went up, revealing a
giant screen used for the disco dance-party to follow. The blond was still
wandering around the venue, passing out the last leaflets to anyone who would
But it wasn't the leaflets most people were interested in, as they exited the
warehouse still talking about the show.
For many, the "real" evening was over.[Tues., Dec. 16,
1997, 9 a.m. PST]