Last night St. Vincent played to about 400 of our nearest-and-dearest at Howler in Brunswick for her third sold out show in Melbourne.
She mainly played songs off her self-titled new album. An album which, admittedly, I struggled to get into. After seeing her live, now it all makes sense.
Every aspect of her performance seemed to have been programmed into her, from her stilted robotic choreography, to her mechanical monologues. It was as though this was a digitally enhanced St. Vincent; A performance machine.
I loved this concept because it reflected the tone of the album perfectly: The idea of living in the digital age, where we can’t even have coffee anymore without telling everyone about it. “If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me, what’s the point of doing anything?”
This idea is reflected through many of the songs on the new album, both lyrically and musically, and St. Vincent gets her point across without making us feel like she’s shoved it down our throats.
But the more fascinating thing to come out of both the album and last night’s show, was her character development. With a brand new shock of ash blonde hair and more moxie than what should be legal, Annie Clark has really explored and defined the character of St. Vincent.
On the album cover she stares out at us, almost as an overlord from her throne. Last night, she had her audience infatuated with every single movement.
From greasy guitar solos with strobe light accompaniment, to lilting ballads and (and I can never thank her enough for this) a stripped back bare acoustic version of (my all time favourite) Strange Mercy, St. Vincent could dominate both chaos and silence. We screamed, we heckled, we were hypnotised. We did everything she wanted, and we would have done anything she asked.
It’s hard to grasp that there were only four people on the stage, all “clad in black”. No AV, no set, only lighting and musicians. However, this was a complete spectacle, a show that seemed like there was so much more going on onstage.
I suppose the highlight is that this show gave me an appreciation and an understanding of the new album which I didn’t have before. She promised “a bizarre fever dream” and she absolutely delivered.
Review by ABEE BELLE