St. Vincent at Webster Hall [11/3/2011]

Posted on: November 7th, 2011 at 12:12 pm by

Rock and Roll’s newest queen of shred, St. Vincent, rolled into a sold out Webster Hall last Thursday night for the latest stop on her Strange Mercy tour.

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St. Vincent, the West Village-inspired moniker of Annie Clark, is currently touring in support of her newest long-player Strange Mercy (4AD records), released September 13, 2011. This album marks peaks of both creativity and commercial popularity for Clark, having reached #19 on the Billboard 200.

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The concert was simulcast on MTV’s The Hive, just like the Two Door Cinema Club concert we reviewed a while back. For Clark, an East Village native who grew up in Texas and refers to the city as “my adopted hometown,” this was a welcome homecoming near the end of a grueling tour.

After filling the hall with enough dry ice smoke to blur everyones vision, St. Vincent appeared out of the dark, shrouded in mysterious white lights, and opened the show with “Surgeon” off of Strange Mercy. After a couple of songs, Clark took a few seconds to say hello and introduced “Chloe In The Afternoon,” a cheery ballad based on Eric Rohmer’s 1972 film of the same name. Putting the crowd into a trance with sweeping rhythm and chilling vocals, Clark dropped some seriously heavy guitar solos under her gorgeous voice. During those moments of groove, with the crowd entranced and dancing, it was clear that no one was having a better time than the chanteuse herself. Bobbing her head to the beat and shaking madly whilst soloing, Clark and her band weaved through most of the new album while covering older fan favorites such as “Actor Out of Work,” “Marrow” and “The Party.”

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Clark, who previously strummed with Sufjan Stevens and his touring band, relayed tales from her adventures on tour: her band drunkenly staggering through a cemetery on Halloween, and how she spent her time in the beginning of the tour hanging out with a UFC fighter in training.

After describing the inspiration behind the music video for “Cruel,” St. Vincent took the song to a whole other level. “Cruel” is a catchy, uptempo, happy-vibes-fest of a song, but when played live it showed why St. Vincent is a must-see act. It packed a bigger punch, funkier guitar licks, a better solo, and shockingly crisp vocals that had the entire crowd in a frenzy. The same could be said about “Marrow,” from the 2009 album Actor. Clark played an extended solo and much heavier riffs, bringing the set to a huge peak before taking a break for the encore.

To end the night, Clark leaped backwards into the crowd, still playing her guitar. Despite looking like a fearless, gutsy natural, she claimed after the show that it was the first time she attempted such a thing and had to ask the crowd to help her through it.

Damn.

St. Vincent will be performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight, so be sure to tune in. And look for yours truly, Ben Tocker, in the fan bench.

Special shout-out and a huge thanks to Boogie fan Allen Stern for hooking us up with some spots on the guest list for the show. This review wouldn’t have happened without his help.

Setlist:

Cheerleader
Save Me From What I Want
Actor Out of Work
Chloe in the Afternoon
Dilettante
Cruel
Just The Same But Brand New
Champagne Year
Neutered Fruit
Strange Mercy
She is Beyond Good and Evil (The Pop Group cover)
Northern Lights
Year of the Tiger
Marrow

Encore:
The Party
Your Lips Are Red

-Writeup and photos by Benjamin Tocker

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