St. Vincent opened her sold-out January 26 concert at The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix with “Marry Me,” moving like a coin-operated puppet arcade game from the 1950s.
When the lights went down, the curtains only opened halfway to reveal the artist — whose real name is Annie Clark — dressed in a neon pink latex bodysuit with matching thigh-high boots. Her dark hair was slicked back, and her skin was white and flawless under the stage lights.
The Grammy winner's movements were robotic and
It's one of the many striking choices St. Vincent is making on her current Fear The Future tour in support of her fifth album,
St. Vincent started the night by playing some of her biggest
Even with her guitar strapped on, Clark continued a puppet-like performance of her popular singles through the first half of the set. Some songs, such as “Cruel," had slightly altered arrangements, but still highlighted what makes her one of the best guitarists today, playing with the effect pedals in a way that made distortion seemed melodic.
She launched into “Cheerleader” standing in profile and singing directly to an invisible subject on the other side of the stage. As the single moved into its staccato refrain, the performer never faced the
At one point during the concert, St. Vincent acknowledged that she's moved from performance spaces to concert halls. Provided that evolution continues, it's just a matter of time before she starts selling out arenas.
The performer from Dallas never seemed like someone who would give an audience the indie-rock equivalent of a Taylor Swift concert. But ambition and the avant-garde aren't diametrically opposed.
That's why her latest stage show looks like it could be the next phase of Clark’s plan. In another year, it seems like we could see Clark belting out torch songs in front of giant video screens as trained dancers perform intricately choreographed routines.
But it's nearly impossible to say what she'll do next.
St. Vincent’s resistance to the public’s presumptions about her fits right into one of the themes of
The manic energy longtime fans were expecting came into the forefront on “Pills” and “Fight The Future.” The themes of the album (fame, beauty, power, and anxiety) resonated a little deeper live than on the record.
“The next song could have easily been written about Phoenix,” she told the audience with a wide grin. “You are truly the only motherfuckers that can handle me.”
Then, she launched into her hit song "New York," which is partly about the death of David Bowie. At that moment of the show, it seemed like Clark, with her dark dystopian vision, nonconformist message, and transcendent guitar
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The audience probably expected to hear a few songs and go home, not realizing they would witness a 90-minute hybrid of punk rock and performance art. Clark constructed an experience far more heartfelt and moving than your typical concert.
"Actor Out Of Work"
"Birth In Reverse"
"Hang On Me"
"Happy Birthday, Johnny"
"Fear The Future"
"Dancing With A Ghost"
The crowd: Delightful dreamers
Notebook dump: During “Fear The Future,” the audience was witness to the Instagram roll from hell. It was A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century.
Overheard In The Crowd: “Were her aunt and uncle also in The Polyphonic Spree?” — overheard as Clark thanked opening act Tuck and Patty, who are also her aunt and uncle.