St. Vincent @ Metro – Sun. June 7th 2009

Sho[wo]manship On Display

What separates Annie Clark, frontwoman of St. Vincent from many of her peers?  Maybe it’s the furor with which she lays into her electric guitar like a woman possessed.  Or is it the double-barreled microphones standing in front of her onstage?  One mic is heavily awash in reverb while the other is used for her delicate, but sharp singing tone.

In a 75 minute set at Metro last night St. Vincent dipped heavily into her current record Actor, but on this night opened the set with ‘Marry Me,’ the title track from her debut record.

Clark was backed by an all male four piece band consisting of bass, drums, woodwinds and violin/rhythm guitar.  Of particular resonance was the performance of Anthony LaMarca on drums who has recently joined St. Vincent’s touring band having previously played with Dean & Britta.  LaMarca’s snare was by far his best weapon, at times mimicking machine gun blasts in its delivery, especially on set standout ‘Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood.’

Despite the fine band supporting her, perhaps most intriguing was when Miss Clark performed unaccompanied – just her and her electric guitar.  The one previous time I saw St. Vincent, she performed strictly as a soloist opening for The National.  And even included an inspired cover of The Beatles ‘Dig A Pony’ in her set.

At her most vicious, Clark echoes back to PJ Harvey early in her career.

There is little doubt that art just may imitate life if St. Vincent’s current trajectory matches the song lyric from ‘Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood.’  “I can’t see the future but I know it’s got big plans for me.”

Catch St. Vincent at Bonaroo this coming weekend.

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