This review originally ran in The Herald Newspaper (Scotland) on August 28, 2014.
As befits a woman who canonised herself in her nom de plume, Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, draws worshippers wherever she roams. And as befits avant-pop’s reigning monarch, the centre-piece for her jaw-dropping stage show (as with her latest album) was a huge, stark throne.
Clark’s meticulously executed live show was an exhilarating high-wire act, packing an inordinate level of theatricality, choreography and fierce musicianship into each song, while simultaneously operating as a master-class in economy.
The evening’s funk-metal riffage, electro-rock carnage and cerebral-pop delirium was amplified via vogueing, robotic dancing, axe-duelling and blinding lights, yet every movement, strobe, and note, was absolutely necessary, and used to maximum effect.
Her curious, soothing, soothsaying monologues – you couldn’t really call them “banter” – were equally measured and disorientating, as St Vincent accused us of being pyromaniacs and hominid catastrophes.
In a set largely drawing from her current eponymous album – it is one of this year’s finest – Clark proved her incendiary guitar chops, and then some, on scorching opener Rattlesnakes, colossal art-pop wig-out Digital Witness, and the monochrome glare of Birth in Reverse (as with much of the gig, its stage show resembled a stunning music video).
There’s no doubt she can out-rock, and out-shred, the best of them, but Clark’s role as languorous chanteuse on the sublime I Prefer Your Love almost stole the show, as she draped across her outsize throne.
Another downtempo rock-aria, Prince Johnny, culminated in Clark enacting a fall from grace, or perhaps her own death – a move that had the devoted audience holding its collective breath.
Then she cast us back to Your Lips Are Red, from her debut, Marry Me. If only.
Related Articles: St Vincent interview (The Herald, August 2014)