I can appreciate a beautiful painting while not grasping its symbolism. It doesn’t stop me at marveling at its appealing colors. That’s exactly what I felt during the St. Vincent’s Fear the Future concert on a cold Monday night. The solo art piece had Annie Clark, AKA St. Vincent, dressed as a futuristic sadomasochistic superhero. She performed in front of video clips of her eating moving sushi, rolling in orange shredded fax paper, and having plastic surgery during a Hollywood press conference. It was over my head like my college philosophy class, but it was beautiful (unlike my college philosophy class).
|St. Vincent showing off her assets – Photo
by the Rock and Roll Princess
The first set of music was reworked arrangements of St. Vincent’s better-known songs. Appearing on one side of the stage dressed in thigh high hot pink latex boots and a matching bustier, St. Vincent started with her earliest material from 2007’s debut album Marry Me and worked her way through her 2014’s Grammy award winning self titled album. She sang and played guitar to backing tracks that had lush string arrangements mixed with drum machines and synthesizers. The crowd was memorized. Besides cheering and applauding between songs they were silent until the chorus of Strangers when they sung, “Paint the black hole blacker.” After a few more songs, St. Vincent would change stage positions along with her different colored guitars until she was finally near my side of the stage. That’s when she turned her backside my direction (I didn’t know if this was an insult or maybe the best view of the night).
|St. Vincent and gifted underwear|
After the first set, St. Vincent appeared on a platform center stage in a silver mini-skirt with green latex sleeves (I guess it was the futuristic superhero sadomasochistic prom look). She performed her latest album Masseduction in its entirety. The songs were played along with bizarre videos and seizure inducing strobe lights during her guitar solos In the middle of the set, “fancy underwear” were tossed on stage. St. Vincent stopped and pondered to the audience if the undergarment was clean. She also educated the crowd about the non sexiness of Gilligan & O’Malley Target brand underwear. St. Vincent informed the giver of the garment that she would knit a quilt with it and give it to her mother.
|St. Vincent in front of images of St. Vincent|
One of the themes I understood from Masseduction was addiction. The horror jingle Pills and the haunting Happy Birthday Johnny illustrated the monstrosities of drug addiction. St. Vincent is donating a dollar from every ticket sold from the Fear the Future Tour to the Phoenix House. That organization assists individuals and families with substance abuse problems and mental illness. Before closing the show, St. Vincent thanked her aunt and uncle, Tuck & Patti, for opening the show. “They provide much needed compassion to this world.”
|Tuck & Patti|
Before transforming into St. Vincent, a fifteen-year-old Annie Clark toured with her uncle Tuck Andress and auntie Patti Cathcart better know as the jazz duet Tuck & Patti. Clark returned the favor and had them open for her this time. The couple has been married for thirty-two years and performing together for thirty-five. They took the stage dressed to impress in white. The crowd who were there to see an indie rock goddess dressed in latex listened politely. Cathcart told the audience a heart-warming story about helping a struggling single mother at a grocery store. It was the introduction to the song Strength that she wrote about the experience. Andress played a solo instrumental version of Stevie Wonder’s I Wish on his 1953 Gibson L-5. It made it obvious that amazing guitar playing is in the family genes. Patti Cathcart came back to join him for Jimmy Hendrix’s Castles Made of Sand/Little Wing medley.
See you at the next show. I’ll be in thigh high latex boots with my backing tracks.