Republica rolled back the years to produce a creditable performance at the small modernistic venue that is the Islington Academy. The lead singer Samantha Sprackling aka Saffron, still after all these years with her trademark dyed red bob showed oodles of personality and flounced around the stage with an attitude of the techno-punk darling that she once was in the nineties, while the band went through their paces, the pace of the rhythm hardly wavering. The crowd was a little small even considering the size of the venue – only a few hundred but then the gig was not that well advertised. (Even I only found it by chance after browsing several gig sites). There were a few younger members of the audience that could not have more than teens when Republica were at their height. That said this was gig a for the dye hard fans as was plain from the numbers of thirty and forty something men in the crowd particularly at the front. Republica had dusted off the best from their back catalogue with numbers such as “Bloke”, “ Holly” and “Out of the Darkness”with slight breaks between for water while Saffron settled herself into the gig. Her voice did appear a little ring rusty at the start but this soon changed as she interacted more confidently with the audience as the gig went on and sections of men in the audience started bouncing along to the up-tempo beat.
Republica could have done the clichéd thing and left their two biggest hits to the end but to their credit “Drop Dead Gorgeous” was planted in the middle of the setlist. “Ready to Go” was played twice, once in the main part of the show and reprised right at the end. Both songs received a rapturous and boisterous reception. This gig was definitely for those in the know. Those were not in the know (and there were a few Europeans and English people in the crowd who probably came out of curiosity) looked slightly bemused suggesting Saffi and the boys need to widen their fanbase if they want to make full comeback. If you were in the right demographic, though, you surely would have enjoyed the gig and the nostalgia trip.
Security presence on the door, reasonably friendly. Security not visible inside the hall although undoubetdly they were there.
Modernistic, Good Acoustics but lacking a bit of character as is often the case with purpose built venues but overall OK.