Experiencing St. Vincent live is like visiting a modern art museum: you're not sure you fully comprehend what you've just seen or heard, but you feel more cultured upon exiting.
Between clusters of songs, St. Vincent, née Annie Clark, says she feels as if she's really getting to know you. (And you wish it were true).
"Your family doesn't know everything about you," Clark says. "You once tried to start a fire with a magnifying glass… It took nine fucking hours… Then you remembered you're afraid of fire."
Spoiler alert: every aspect of St. Vincent's performance–even down to the free verse disguised as stage banter–has been carefully choreographed during dress rehearsals.
Baring a sense of accountability, Clark strategically crafts an 'experience' for her fans. Speaking on why nothing is left to chance, Clark told Village Voice: "People have spent money on a ticket, and maybe that money is the equivalent of them spending a day of their life at their job, or half a day. Money is absolutely time."
Bathed in an auditory dance between digital and (seemingly) analog sounds, your mind is free to fixate on every detail Clark provides–down to her blue mascara–if you're lucky enough to get that close to the stage.
Clark baby-steps to and from the mic stand in graceful robotic movements–stage mannerisms which will forever encourage critics to liken her to a 'cyborg'. Donning her new, unruly platinum coif (something Steven Colbert recently compared to Einstein during an interview), and wearing a frock that appears embellished with a floral blood splatter, it's difficult to not compare Clark to an outer-worldly being.
Clark's live performance travels a roller coaster of sounds. First, you'll hear the familiar pop sounds of songs like 'Cruel' and the new single 'Digital Witness', next you'll be dropped into the somber sound of 'I Prefer Your Love', then you may be tossed into the haywire punk energy of 'Krokodile' (the song during which she's known to crowd surf).
Much like the progressions within her songs, variety–or more likely the disturbance created by variety–fuels Clark. Did we mention bandmate Toko Yasuda plays a theremin in 'Northern Lights'?
You'll find yourself falling more and more in love with St. Vincent during each distortion-heavy guitar solo. Clark is 'art' to a degree unpolluted by ego. She has the legs and the looks, yet instead of letting it all hang out, Clark's keeping it "weird" in ways we imagine Lady Gaga only wishes were achieved effortlessly.
Our advice on how to get the best live experience:
-Sorry to say it, but we wish we would have skipped the opener Holly Herndon during the east coast leg of St. Vincent's tour. The overpowering bass made us feel like our organs were rattling during that one endless song she performed on her iMac.
-If the theater is packed, which it inevitably will be, glance at the ceiling (before craning your neck around the mass of people in front of you). You'll be able to catch a glimpse of Clark's shadow creating small circles, like a music box Geisha.
You can catch St. Vincent at the House of Blues on March 19 in San Diego and The Wiltern on March 21 in Los Angeles.