LIVE: St. Vincent Electrifies At The Wiltern (3/21/14)
By Natasha Aftandilians on March 24, 2014
The Wiltern Theater
Los Angeles, California
March 21, 2014
Annie Clark knows more about you than you probably think she does.
She knows that “your favorite word is orgiastic…Your lip curls slightly downward…You were probably born north of the equator… and once when you were little you built a hot air balloon out of sheets and really hoped it would fly, and you were really disappointed when it didn’t.”
How does this woman have such vast oracular knowledge of the deepest recesses of our psyche? It’s hard to tell, but she seems to have a lot going on in that wiry-haired head of hers.
Annie Clark—or St. Vincent as we all know her—will most likely surprise you with her on-stage performances, and Friday night at The Wiltern was no exception. For under that diminutive appearance is a woman brimming with unbridled, frenetic energy that she unleashes upon her captive audience.
Opening the show with “Rattlesnake” and “Birth in Reverse,” off her new self-titled album, Clark danced along in her own version of the Macarena; all elbows and knees swinging and jerking in robotic concert with the beat, shuffling about like an automaton in heels. In a moment of discordant chaos and flashing strobe lights, she collapsed to the ground, writhing like a starlet in a David Lynch snuff film.
St. Vincent’s raucously powerful guitar brings life to tracks that sound almost stifled or rigid on her albums; songs like “Cheerleader,” a booming feminist anthem become a force to be reckoned with when Clark is throttling her guitar. It’s a kind of focused energy you can practically see shooting out her fingertips when she shreds, like static electricity charging the air around her.
But she has her moments of raw vulnerability too; towards the end of the show, Clark played a stripped down version of “Strange Mercy,” alone on a raised platform with only her guitar and her voice, as pretty as a Disney princess’s and as sharp as a knife. It’s moments like these when she manages to bring the entire theater to a silent standstill, where the phones get put away and the shouts of “I love you Annie!” briefly come to a halt.
After the encore, as she gracefully thanked her bandmates, the artist applauded her drummer for “laying down the guttural shit in the most graceful ways,” which in the end is really the perfect way to describe exactly what St. Vincent is all about—taking the awkward, hidden parts of ourselves and presenting them in a way that’s elegant. F