St. Vincent at House of Blues, Boston. February 27th, 2014.
How much Annie Clark has changed since her album with David Byrne and the release of Strange Mercy! Before Annie got on stage, a voiceover asked the audience to refrain from digitally recording anything as it would take away from the experience of the show. This was appropriate and understandable as Annie sings in ‘Digital Witness’ “Digital witnesses, what’s the point of even sleeping?/ If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me/ What’s the point of doing anything?” highlighting the irony of oversharing on social media.
The set started off with her performing ‘Rattlesnake’, which was accompanied by a staccato of dance moves that seemed to introduce her character for the night as a chic rosy-cheeked doll alienoid. ‘Surgeon’ was a surreal experience to see live because it really showcased the immense control she has over her guitar. When she played ‘Cruel’, the crowd immediately started to sing with her, joining her in her pleas to 'Forgive the kids, for they don't know how to live…' She then acknowledged that she could feel the crowd’s energy on stage.
The encore included a stripped down version of ‘Strange Mercy’ and ‘The Bed’, which was a perfect way to end the night. It was soothing to see her puppet character break down in a way that shows her vulnerability and sensibility as an artist and person.
St. Vincent are artful, conscious of their musical image, and thus, nothing short of brilliant.