Live Review: St Vincent

ABC – 26/08

If anyone though that St Vincent would underwhelm on her date with the ABC, they’ll undoubtedly have been pleasantly surprised. But as anyone familiar with the work of Annie Clark must expect, she was on fine form, with a new style to match her latest self-titled album.

The evening’s opening act were Arc Isis, a band from Rhode Island who seemed a wind-chime incarnate. They were interesting certainly, but left the audience in something of a daze so thank heavens for St Vincent who woke us all with her set.

Modelled around digitalism and beginning with a disembodied robotic reminder to shake us out of our stupor, the show was very much that- a show- and thus a change of programming for long-time fans. Rather than bare Annie on stage with a guitar it was all about the character of St Vincent; choreographed down to the languid body roll down the steps and the wide-eyed apocalyptic tales weaved amongst the music. Over time the lunacy became more measured, yet no less unnerving and enjoyable, until a final fifteen minutes filled by Clark’s characteristic guitar-shredding in a display of mesmerising insanity and mind-boggling talent.

Over the course of her set Clark presented a smorgasbord of songs from her repertoire: the latest offerings from her new album mixed with songs from her previous albums as digital alter-egos of themselves. Her rounded and versatile vocals were on top form, as was her masterful guitar work, which didn’t suffer from the choreography in the slightest. A top performer, St Vincent delivered even amidst the razzle dazzle.

That said, did the show give us anything the album didn’t? It lacked the rawness expected from a concert and the added oomph it lends the material that you pay for. Despite that, a thoroughly good night of entertainment to leave you slightly confused about exactly which planet you’re on.

[Lara Davis]

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