St. Vincent’s promotions team must have a grin on their faces a mile wide. In April, the wide-eyed, brunette songstress also known as Annie Clark was opening shows for long established act John Vanderslice in small to medium-sized venues. Fast-forward three months and she’s headlining them all on her own. Not as part of the touring band for Sufjan Stevens (who stood behind me for most of her set), not as part of the Polyphonic Spree. As herself.
As talented as she is, there was some skepticism over whether she could fill a venue like the Bowery Ballroom as a headliner. In between songs, she quipped, “there are people in the room… that’s fantastic!” it’s an understatement, to be sure. The bloggerati was out in full force, with the front row of the audience mainly comprised of notebook scribblers and camera-wielders. Quick to pick up fans (her full length, Marry Me, came out just a week ago) screamed words of encouragement and praise and were already intimately familiar with lyrics and percussion. An air of consciousness quickly set in, dancing in front of our faces; “St. Vincent is a growing sensation,” it hummed, “She’s only going to get bigger.”
St. Vincent: “Paris Is Burning” (download)
She coursed through almost every song from her full length with a tenacious energy belied by her demure demeanor and appearance. “Now Now” broke into an unbridled freak-out jam that was greeted with resounding applause. During “Your Lips Are Red,” which eventually led into “Paris Is Burning,” it sounded as though she might spontaneously combust at any moment. But her ability to hold all of her creative pandemonium together is precisely why she’s so charming. After announcing that she’s from Texas, a show-goer yelled out “George Bush!” “This is a sacred space,” she cooed. “We can’t utter words like that.”
Other high points included the murderous waltz with a chorus of “Bang! Bang! My baby had to go…” (being called both “Bang Bang” and “My Baby Had To Go” by various press sources), and a cover of “Blue Angel” by the Squirrel Nut Zippers.
St. Vincent: “Marry Me” (download)
At some point during the show, a man from the balcony shouted out a proposal. Though masked as an ode to the infectious title-track of her album, it was clear he had legitimately fallen for her in some way or another. We all had.
Check out my review of Marry Me on page 87 of this month’s issue of SOMA Magazine!
Image courtesy of flickr user sokane1