St. Vincent, touring in support of the recently released Masseduction, brought her singularly incomparable brand of rock and roll to a sold out Palace Theatre in St. Paul on Saturday night. Her Fear The Future Tour has special meaning, as $1.00 from every ticket goes to Plus1, an organization providing prevention, treatment and resources for opioid addiction.
St. Vincent aka Annie Clark, has an impressive musical background. She studied at the Berkley School of Music, and was a member of both Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Steven’s band. She has also worked with David Byrne. All of these influences have helped create her unique sound, a blend of alt-rock, electropop with a little jazz thrown in for good measure. She has been called a pioneer, and is sited by many as an important influence.
The show stared around 8:10 with a bizarre short film by Clark called “Birthday Party” The audience of 30 something’s was held rapt for 15 minutes as the story the prelude to a dysfunctional birthday celebration unfolded. This film is part of a new female driven horror anthology feature called XX.
With the sold out crowd super charged with anticipation, Clark emerged as a futuristic vision in pink under a single spotlight stage left. Adorned in matching lipstick, leather body suit and thigh high boots, St. Vincent broke into the title rack from her first album, Marry Me. This show was broken into 2 sets, and the first set was a retrospective of her work up to Masseduction. She commanded the stage with a polished confidence as she belted out tasty gems from her catalogue like “The Strangers”, Cruel” and “Strange Mercy”. Layers of curtains were pealed away, revealing a large backdrop with the image of a fang toothed monster. It was at this point one realized that there was no backing band, just St. Vincent, her guitar and a mic stand.
What sets Clark apart from other artists is her distinct guitar work. She is a savage on the sixstring, the solo during “Rattle Snake” was so intense it had the ability to rearrange the atoms of the brain. Her jagged, weaponized guitar work is a phenomenon to behold. She does things that seem to exceed the capacity of the wood and wire instrument in her hands. Annie was a pink guitar Goddess as she shredded the fretboard with the set closer “Birth In Reverse”
After a quick break for a set and clothing change, St. Vincent was back for round 2. The second set was entirely dedicated to Masseduction. Clark continued the futuristic theme, dressed in a silver pointed outfit accessorized with turquoise. Large video screens pulsated with color and shots of Clark. This set contained some slower, more ballad like tunes, including “Happy Birthday Johnny” and “New York”. During “Los Ageless” The Palace was transformed into a dancehall, enchanted beat tracks pounding the audience. Clark was extremely engaging with the crowd. While she spent most of the second set on a round pedestal in the center of the stage, she did occasionally come to the edge of the stage and explain some of the though that went into certain songs. “In the spirit of the purple one” Clark dedicated “Sugarboy” to “all of the girls, all of the boys, and all of the in-betweens”.
St. Vincent rocked an almost 2-hour show. Judging by the reaction of the sold out Palace crowd, Masseduction appears to be her biggest release yet.