St. Vincent (Annie Clark) is a musical chameleon. She has inhabited the personas of a folk-singer, a guitar God, and a leather clad dominatrix. St. Vincent brought her latest character to the Mission Ballroom. She found innovative ways to incorporate songs from her six diverse albums into her current style for a spectacular theatrical event.
The show started with the background singers Sy Smith, Nayanna Holley, and Neka Hamilton sauntering out with a St. Vincent body double (Arianna Henry) beside them. That’s when the lights revealed the real St. Vincent appearing in all of her 1970s glory in an unbuttoned blouse, hot pants, and a blonde wig. The band started playing Digital Witness from her 2014 self titled album. It transformed into a sexy funk number compared to the original hyper electronic version.
Down was the first song played from the new album Daddy’s Home. Holley, Hamilton, and Smith showed off their synchronized dance moves while St. Vincent sang, “Get off my tit/Go face your demons, check into treatment/Go flee the country, go blame your daddy/Just get far away from me.” It was followed by an amazing solo played on her Ernie Ball St. Vincent Signature guitar (she has her own signature guitar line). There was so much happening on stage it was hard to choose where to look next.
The audience got to catch their breath during the melancholy New York from St. Vincent’s 2017 Masseduction. “New York isn’t New York without you, love/So far in a few blocks, to be so low/If I call you from First Avenue/Well you’re the only motherf*cker in the city who can handle me.” During the song Slow Disco Holley, Hamilton, and Smith took over lead vocals while St. Vincent smiled and danced beside them.
The theatrics relied heavily on ballet trained pilates instructor Arianna Henry. Dressed like a waitresses from the 1970s, Henry handed St. Vincent a phone in the middle of the set, changed the back drop from a New York skyline into a disco, delivered refreshments, and danced with every member of the band.
Along with the controlled chaos, guitar player Jason Falkner (who has performed with Beck) and keyboardist Rachel Eckroth (who was performed with Rufus Wainwright) drove the music party along. At the same time, drummer Mark Guiliana (who has performed with David Bowie) and bass player Justin Meldal-Johnsen (who has also performed with Beck) kept the grove going strong.
Cheerleader from St. Vincent’s 2011 Strange Mercury album brought thunderous strobe light power-cord driven energy that almost stopped my heart. In contrast, the band played the Pink Floyd inspired Live In A Dream from the new album. Smith, Holley, and Hamilton slowly walked in a circle to the trippy tune. It ended with The Melting of the Sun that name checked Pink Floyd’s 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon. The three vocalists sang an extremely soulful rendition that left the crowd in awe.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one looking out for the headliner’s body double.