Concert Review

St. Vincent at Rhythm Room

Reviewers are supposed to be objective. By that standard, perhaps I'm not the best person to write about Thursday night's St. Vincent show at the Rhythm Room. So, before you read on, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll be honest with you: I've been a huge fan of Austin-based singer-songwriter Annie Clark for a long time. Actually, I pretty much think everything she does is brilliant. Honestly, she could have read The Great Gatsby from cover to cover last night and I still would have given her a standing ovation. So take what I'm about to say with that caveat.

Fortunately for everyone else at the sold-out Rhythm Room last night there was no Fitzgerald reading -- just a fantastic live performance that captivated everyone in attendance.

After taking the stage shortly after opening band Wildbirds &
Peacedrums finished with their set, Annie Clark and her backing band
played a nice mix of songs from her albums Marry Me and her most recent release Actor.

Something that has always impressed me about Annie Clark's live
performances is just how much her songs grab the audience. With a song
like "Marrow" she can get the hippest of hipsters to rock out along
with the music and then follow it up with the song "The Party" where
the entire audience is completely transfixed on her and the music she
is playing.

My favorite moment from the show came when Clark teased the
audience that she would perform a cover of Ice Cube's classic song "It
Was a Good Day." Sadly, Annie Clark covering Ice Cube would not happen
on this night, but would be, in my opinion, epic. Instead, we got a
very nice cover of the song "These Days" by Nico, which Clark dubbed as
the folksy equivalent of "It Was a Good Day."

One of the truly great things about going to a St. Vincent concert
is how much better the songs from her albums are in a live setting.
Thanks to her backing band - Daniel Hart (guitarist/violinist), Bill
Flyn (bassist, clarinetist), Evan Smith (flute, clarinet, sax) and Anthony LaMarca (drums) - Clark has been able to improve upon the arrangements of the songs she played last night. It really is a joy to hear some of your favorite songs in a live
setting but it's so much better when a musician takes a song you
already love and makes it that much better.

St. Vincent's performance last night was amazing and unforgettable and I can't wait to see her again. But, then again, what else would you expect an admitted fanboy to say?

Set List:

"The Strangers"
"Save Me From What I Want"
"Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood"
"Actor Out Of Work"
"Jesus Saves, I Spend"
"Just The Same But Brand New"
"The Bed"
"These Days"(Nico Cover)
"Black Rainbow"
"The Party"

"Paris Is Burning"
"Your Lips Are Red"

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: Wildbirds & Peacedrum and St. Vincent at the Rhythm Room

Better Than: Just about anything.

Personal Bias: Like I said, I'm a huge St. Vincent fan. I love everything she's ever done and think she's the sexiest woman alive when she plays guitar.

Random Detail: Annie Clark dropped out of Berklee College of Music to be the guitarist of the Polyphonic Spree.

Further Listening: I was pleasantly surprised by
opening act Wildbirds & Peacedrums, a group that I wasn't really
familiar with until last night. I'm planning on giving them a listen
later today.

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Mike Escoto