For festivals & outdoor shows
Annie Clark better known as St Vincent tonight finds herself in Bristol as part of a rescheduled tour. The release of her critically acclaimed fourth solo album 'St Vincent' earlier in the spring has confirmed her ascension. This is the first (and likely last time) this New Yorker will play Bristol (especially in a venue this size). The 1200 or so people lucky enough to have tickets for tonight's sold out show know this, and the sense of excitement is palpable as I enter the venue.
Just a little after 9pm, she takes to the stage with her band. You dare not take your eyes off Annie, not even for a second as every nuanced look, every movement and gesture is an intricate part of her performance. Recent single 'Digital Witness' is dispatched early in the set and is truly sublime. I have seen many performers do 'kooky' or aloof, but St Vincent is an entirely different proposition. This is not 'Art-Rock' for the sake of it, this feels more organic, more genuine without any contrivance or self-awareness. There is a warmth and humility to her performance and her bond or relationship with the audience is reciprocal in every way.
It's challenging to single out any highlights, much like someone singling out their favourite son or daughter but 'Every Tear Disappears' is one gem among many tonight. As the show unfolds we witness what makes Annie unique as she fuses funk, soul, aggressive guitars, bombastic beats and beautiful vocals to create something that perhaps shouldn't work but does!
Aside from the music, we also have monologues (some in the abstract) about the human condition. You could hear a pin drop as the crowd hung onto every word. Random muses abounded about arson, setting yourself free and your state of mind whilst shopping in Tescos!
Bristol is name checked a few times to much approval as the set unfolds. Tonight there has been moments of beauty, fragility, aggression all wrapped in shade and light. Annie is an artist in every sense of the word, and her live performance as witnessed tonight was as daring as it was exhilarating.
An enigmatic presence with the songs to boot, the call of ernorma-domes and arenas can't be far off.