“I’m very suspicious of some of you” declares St Vincent (known to her mother as Annie Clark) with a wry smile to a hyper-enthusiastic sold out crowd of Hoxton Bar & Grill. A large portion clap a bit too whole heartily to the introduction of new song, ‘The Strangers’. It’s almost as if she’s genuinely surprised that people are already aware and well versed in her new record Actor, a full 2 (that’s right, count them, 2) weeks before it’s even hit the shops. “Some of you have been downloading, I think”. To be fair, she can hardly be surprised people have heard it in this day and age. People are thieves! They are impatient! They want a free lunch! They want things NOW and they know how the bit-torrent sites to get them! But it’s okay, she still loves us. And she looks like she’s having a blast up there. During new track ‘The Strangers’, she sways from side to side, eyes closed and jerking in time as she boldly and fiercely assaults and jabs at her guitar to reach the desired tones, like a woman possessed.
Having plied her trade as part of the large ensemble of touring bands for The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens (insert heart icon here), you might think Annie Clark would feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights, exposed to the World as she performs with just a guitar in hand and a sample/drum machine. But this is simply not the case. She freely banters away between songs, genuinely thanking the audience for their generous applause, and oozing an incredible laid back confidence which makes her so darn charming. Hell, she even cites severely underrated US comedy Arrested Development as one of her favourite shows [Her debut, Marry Me was a coy reference to a regularly spoken phrase on it - seriously if you haven't seen it, make it so. One of the Best. Shows. Ever. One small reason why Annie and I should be together, I feel…]
When she does drop the delightfully tongue-in-cheek ‘Marry Me’, (“Marry me John, come on, we’ll do what married people do…without the kid”) people warmly laugh in appreciation. “Try singing that in the bible belt!” . The latest single ‘Actor Out of Work’, sounds totally exhilarating with it’s thickly reverbed-drenched noise, echoing over the looped main riff that she laid down and sampled at the start. She drums out a beat then lets the keyboard take over repeating it, before she can get down to playing the guitar and singing – ensuring everything is in complete synchronicity, proving to be quite the multitasking queen. ‘Landmines’ sounds distinctly ethereal and other-worldy whereas ‘The Party’ was a mixture of delicate, brittle blues, brimming with a sad fragility her voice. Most people seem enchanted and spellbound as she spins her webs of aural splendor. Apart from the venue lights guy who was standing on the side of stage. His arms constantly raised up to the switch deck, tweaking knobs to fit the mood. That poor guy.
With her set complete, she found it impossible to leave the stage. Her pathway obstructed by fans and photographers (with there being no backstage at the Hoxton Bar & Grill.) “The plan was to go backstage, let you guys rapturously clap, begging for me to come back, while I’d be back there being fanned and fed grapes”…. Oh, what I’d give to provide her with that service… So anyway… She strapped back on her guitar and rewarded our faux-patience and fervor with ‘Paris Is Burning’. A song that sounds sweet and sinister in equal measures, and exudes a leaden tension delivered through waltz. A popular choice amongst the crowd who left with their hearts content as they filtered out onto Hoxton Square.
Jesus Saves, I Spend
Actor Out Of Work
Your Lips Are Red
Paris Is Burning