Oct 6, 2011

St. Vincent and Cate Le Bon at Metro on 10/5/11

Photos taken by Melody Perpich

Save Me From What I Want
Chloe in the Afternoon
Actor Out of Work
Just the Same But Brand New
Champagne Year
Neutered Fruit
Strange Mercy
She Is Beyond Good and Evil (Pop Group cover)
Northern Lights
Year of the Tiger
The Party
Your Lips are Red

Video I took from the way back of "Chloe in the Afternoon" (check out the great lighting):

I am going to begin this post a bit untraditionally with an email cut and pasted in its entirety, sent to me by my friend who was going with me to the show. She agreed to go to the show over two months ago when I was buying tickets. She trusted my judgement (as she has in the past) and although never having heard of St. VIncent, agreed to go. I gifted her some of the music two days before the show and this is what her review was (which I received in the email below just two days prior to the show):


"Will you totally HATE me if I back out of the concert? If so, I will go.


I'm sorry but it even scared my cats. :) Seriously, they looked around for the source of the sounds. It was actually pretty funny.

I will go if you will hate me or threaten to never speak to me again but otherwise I'd like to back out. If you can't sell the ticket at the door then I'll pay you for it. If I was the only one going with you then I'll go b/c I don't want you to go alone after I said I'd go with you.

I like to think that I'm pretty open but she just sounded like noise to me and I can't image it live."

My reply was something like: That is totally not cool. I will sell the ticket and I will hopefully, eventually, in this lifetime, get over your blowing me and the concert off. Don't worry about it.

Her reply was something like: I will go to the show, never mind.

We went back and forth like this for a while, me sending her the New York Times review, another review giving high marks to her latest release, and then it was settled that my company alone made it worth going to the show (after all, I am fun... at least some people think so). It is always good to keep your friendships intact (at least ones you care about) and it is always good to maintain your concert invitation cred. Once you commit, just grin and bare it. Unless of course there is a death in the family, you find yourself in the hospital due to the need for emergency appendectomy surgery, or other worthy reasons to back out.

I do agree that you could have a love or hate, polarizing opinion, of St. Vincent (Annie Clark) but that email was a bit blunt/harsh/a bit shall we say RUDE, even for me. I mean her cats hated St. Vincent?? What if St. Vincent was my all time favorite band? What if Annie Clark was, in fact, my sister? The show was in actuality sold out - can everyone else be wrong?

Annie Clark's background, borrowed from the website: http://altmusic.about.com/od/artists/a/stvincent.htm

St. Vincent is the recording project of Annie Clark (born 1982, in Tulsa, Oklahoma), a one-woman band who mixes pop balladry, showtune-ish exuberance, squalling electric guitar, and subtle hints of jazz in her particular, complex compositions. Based in Brooklyn, but raised in Dallas, Clark had, before finding fame as St. Vincent, done time in robe-wearing sunshine-pop cult The Polyphonic Spree, and in the live band for banjo-pucking boy-genius Sufjan Stevens.

She took her stage name from St. Vincent's hospital in downtown New York, the place where, amongst other things, poet Dylan Thomas spent his final hours. The joke being that Clark's music is "the place where poetry comes to die."

There was a long time to wait after suffering through Welsh singer Cate Le Bon, who was very monochromatic playing what sounded like the same song over and over. She was in need of a great band to offset her lack of diversity. The audience was extremely polite nonetheless (everyone clapped and no one "booed" her off stage). St. Vincent hit the stage close to 10:30 (late for me on a work night but muster on we would).

Clark performed mostly new tunes and did not play audience favorites like "Paris Burning". The sound was off for the show and hard to ignore. The base was way too loud and Annie had what seemed to be continuous issues with her ear pieces since she was always readjusting them. She even hit a long note off-key which certainly had to do with her earpiece and not her ability to reach a high note. There were also points during the show that you could not hear what she was saying during her occasional comments to the audience. The lighting was a show in and of itself and one of the best things about the performance often draping Clark in multiple hued spot lights proposing a magical and haunting quality to the stage. But the never ending fog machine needed to be turned off at some point. So unfortunately, due to poor soundmanship, it was hard to hear how great she is and great lighting can only get you so far as a distractor. The Metro was indeed packed to the gills with hundreds of appreciative fans just glad to get a ticket (face value only $18). A few years back she did an acoustic show at Schubas which must have been a great way to see her sans loud electronica base sounds and fog.

Here is a great acoustic (almost her own cover) version of the new song "Surgeon". The cats might like this one better...

I would give St. Vincent another chance but it would have to be at a smaller venue (would she ever play at Lincoln Hall?). Metro disappointed as a venue and usually the sound is great. She is adorable and plays a mean electric guitar often making it into a sound effects machine. Her virtuosity on guitar is as notable as her quirky and often eery lyrics. Clark uniquely combines the genres of jazz, indie-rock, electronica, and punk vibes into her songs. You have to give her songs a thorough listen to appreciate her haunting poetry. She does lean towards the dark side which is unexpected if you were to judge based on her pretty doe like Disney face and small frame. This performance gets a 3 out of 5 guitar rating due to poor sound that was hard to get past. My friend did survive the concert. She thought there was a possibility that St. Vincent could grow on her and that maybe even the cats would be less scared over time. Still not a glowing review. Oh well, you can't please everyone all of the time.

Photo of Cate Le Bon taken at the show:

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