My, my, my, little Miss Annie Clark has come into her own. Opening with a blistering guitar solo, St. Vincent proved over the roughly hour and a half performance she gave last night at the 9:30 Club that she’s one of the finest acts in the indie music scene right now. This marked my second or third time catching St. Vincent, but this show was a night and day difference of improvement. Don’t get me wrong, i’ve loved all three of Clark’s CDs, but her voice can come across as a tad reedy and pitched in a live setting. Or, at least, that’s what i used to think. Whether it was a stellar sound board technician, better use of mic effects, improved vocal training or it was just an “on” night, she was on fire all night long, hitting notes like they owed her drug money. The majority of the night was split between her previous CD, Actor (Marrow, Laughing with a Mouthful of Blood, Actor Out of Work), and the latest, Strange Mercy (“Chloe in the Afternoon,” “Cruel,” “Northern Lights,” “Year of the Tiger”), with the occasional nod towards Marry Me. While i have always considered Clark to be an engrossing lyricist, i had no idea that girlfriend could shred on the axe quite that well. Seriously, she killed that fucker. Now, for my money, i like to get a bit of interaction from the artist, and Annie did not disappoint, regaling the crowd with the “true” story behind her latest video and tales of the band’s Halloween, spent drunk on tequila in a graveyard chasing white tailed deer (couldn’t make that up if i wanted to). Interestingly, it took a while for her to warm up to the crowd, and there were oddly long pauses between certain songs. i assumed that had something to do with the fact that NPR was live streaming the show, but who knows? Of course, the obligatory cover was made (some killer art noise piece by The Pop Group), but i was most impressed when Clark jumped into the crowd with her guitar during the encore performance of “Your Lips Are Red,” allowing as many in the audience who could reach the opportunity to “play” her feedback soaked final notes. My only complaint of the night would have to be the inclusion of perhaps the most annoying light show i’ve seen EVER. Did we really need all those strobes and spots hitting the audience at eye level? Annie called it “seizure inducing.” i agree with that sentiment.
Seriously, sell your wife and kids to go see this tour when it hits your town. Don’t be stupid about it, though, you really should be able to get more for your spouse and children than just concert tickets. Push for a free t-shirt, too, at the very least.
i had hoped to post NPR’s live podcast of the show for your listening pleasure, but for some reason the site currently has the Wild Flag show as their latest offering (been there, done that, didn’t get the t-shirt, but think i snagged a poster). Instead, check out NPR’s last podcast of St. Vincent, at the Black Cat show back in ’09 (yes,i was at that, too. Sweet Fuckems, i am one hep cat).