CONCERT REVIEW: St. Vincent live in Brooklyn

I fully recommend reading the Village Voice’s review of the St. Vincent show. If it’s possible to recommend something more than fully, that’s what I’m doing when I say you should make a beeline to see this incredible artist the next time she gracious your city with her presence. It’s more than “fully recommend,” but less than “implore.” It’s clunky to say I only slightly less than implore you to go see St. Vincent. Hopefully you understand my sentiment.  I’m a firm believer in showing something being a better way of explaining than simply writing, but without you going to see her play, you’ll just have to read my glow words. Here’s how I would describe the show.

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Thirteen minutes into the set, after only 3 songs, she addressed the crowd for what would be the only time for the whole night. She said some really cool things. It seemed slightly rehearsed, but I’m okay with that. I don’t know why that’s true. I think there is real beauty in the improvisation that comes with seeing an artist live. But it’s totally acceptable with her. She explained why she’s so precise.

“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.”

I totally agree. This show was free though, so the whole pay thing doesn’t hold true, but I think her thought is respectable whether one is paying for a ticket or not. Reading this only helped confirm my fascination and respect for her. Sorry, you’re wanting my description of the show. Here goes.

Seeing St. Vincent live at the Prospect Park bandshell was a profound experience for me. I won’t use words like “epic,” “literally,” “actually,” “mind-blowing” or “awesome.” I think I can do better than that, and I think she deserves to be described in a unique way because her stage presence is like nothing I’ve ever seen. She completely encompasses the entire spectrum of human stage personality. She’s at one point aloof while shooting lasers from her guitar like Jack White and Tom Morello’s younger sister, and then she’s strumming softly and singing lullabies like Nina Simone and Neko Case’s cousin. I don’t know why she’s a cousin to two other women and a sister to two men. I didn’t want to be repetitive, simply put. Please don’t think me sexist.

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Back to the description. The closest physical experience I can compare her too is if you’ve had the opportunity to slide into a pool from a hot tub. I did this myself once while vacationing in Maui. Often times, the two are separated by a few feet of concrete pool deck. Not at the place I was staying. The hot tub had a circular wall that on one side was hot water and the other cool water. There’s a real thrill in jumping from hot to cool water, but it’s a different brand of thrill when you just slip easily from one temperature extreme to the other. That, to me, is how St. Vincent’s performance felt. She is jamming with some serious throbbing base lines and percussion while her guitar is screaming shards of glass, and then she’s not. She’s perched atop a three-tiered supra stage upon the main stage finger picking her guitar, singing a lovely ballad whilst five white spot lights illuminate her lithe figure. She’s wearing black leggings and a short black skirt, standing feet wider than shoulder length apart and wearing a milky white blouse. Her hair, of course, is a white and light-grey, lavender combination of straightened joy.


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The following is a YouTube video containing only the audio of the show in its entirety. I suggest listening to the first three songs. The first song has an extended intro. It’s the first song on her new album so it was nice to see her get off to a nice start and jam out a bit to get herself, and all of those watching, loose and ready to tap our toes. It worked. Then she went right into “Digital Witness.” If you must, you can skip ahead to her one and only address to the crowd at approximately 13:05. She had such interesting things to say. So matter of fact and basic. If you continue to listen you’ll see what I’m talking about with her guitar playing skills. Keep in mind that she’s singing in an effortless way while playing guitar. Start listening at 50:30 to hear her doing something really cool with a rest. On the album, this kill lasts for a beat and a half. Here she makes it last for far too long causing the crowd to understand what she’s doing and cheer her on. This was one of my favorite moments. Beauty in the silence. She triggers the rest of the band that she’s going back into the song by audibly inhaling. She plays oh-so-delicately for her first encore song at 1:06:23. The actual shredding really gets during her song, “Red Lips” which starts at 1:14:10. This song goes from all to nothing to all to not much to a small lullaby to unbelievably intricate guitar wails to a wall of delightful sound. Kudos to the drummer for keeping the vibe going. She jumped into the crowd for the solo and played while folks in the audience held her while she played.This is quite a way to end a show. She’s not quite done though, friends. Once she gets back on stage, she finishes the song.

St. Vincent gets a resounding A+ from me. I was laughing with joy and smiling for the entire show. I was amazed by her artistry and skill. Again, if she comes to your city, go see her.

 

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