In retrospect, I feel kind of stupid. Of course, when Annie Clark aka St. Vincent is playing a show in Brooklyn, you’ll have to show up early. With doors opening at 6.30, I thought, 5.30 should be good enough. Yeah, it wasn’t. I underestimated New York’s love for the outsider pop songstress and had to settle for a strip of grass outside the perimeter of the Prospect Park Bandshell.
Opener of the evening is Brooklyn band San Fermin, lead by Ellis Ludwig-Leone, who’s soft crooning eerily resemblances that of The National’s Matt Berninger. The band, which dubs their genre “baroque pop,” shows up with around 10 of the 22 musicians they recorded their album with, excluding Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius, who of course are currently touring themselves, and whose voices are replaced by Charlene Kaye during the live performance.
After a solid set and a half hour break, in which the audience mostly fought for the best spot within and outside of the fences, Clark takes the stage while the sun is setting in the west. “I’ve seen her years ago in Texas,” says my bespectacled neighbor, “which was amazing. I can imagine she’s gotten so much better now, now that she has more toys.”
And toys she really does have now – dressed in a flowing white shirt, black leather shorts and tights, with her black hair dyed grey, she resembles an odd yet beautiful pupped straight out of Metropolis. But then she starts playing guitar. As you may or may not know, Clark is one of the most badass, talented guitar players of our day, aside from being an amazing songwriter and performer. Her fingers fly over the strings, bringing heavy distortion and soothing bliss while she curates her set with the utmost care and dedication. Of course, in support of her new album, most tracks she plays this lovely Saturday night are off of her new eponymous record, but even older and first minute fans are treated with songs from Strange Mercy, Actor and Marry Me.
Often times it is hard to describe a concert of this quality, because the music and the performance just immediately sets you in some kind of trance. Clark is a gesamtkunstwerk – from the way she had her stage designed, with the glowing white and green lights, the stair-like podium and the clean shapes and structures over her outfit to the tumultuous clarity of her songs. St. Vincent became the work of art Lady Gaga seems to achieve, yet without losing herself in crazy costumes, techno beats and the media.
After about an hour and a half, the show is over. People start leaving right before the encore to beat the traffic, but select few remain still way after the show was over, to digest what they just experienced and finish their drinks. The concert had been great, the fans are overjoyed, and the night is still young. My initial dismay with the length of the lines had puffed away by then. After all, the show still had been amazing. And life changing.
Cruel (Strange Mercy)
Every Tear Disappears
I Prefer Your Love
Actor Out of Work (Actor)
Surgeon (Strange Mercy)
Cheerleader (Strange Mercy)
Birth in Reverse
Bring Me Your Loves
Strange Mercy (Strange Mercy)
Year of the Tiger (Strange Mercy)
Your Lips Are Red (Marry Me)
Listen to the audio stream of the full show here
Article by: Julia Maehner
Photos by: Shayne Hanley