Sunday, 1 April 2012

St Vincent: Rock Goddess in the Making?

St. Vincent
Melkweg, 29 February 2012

Two Aussies walk into a bar, on a Wednesday night in Amsterdam in search of a beverage and a band, and hoping for something they haven’t heard before. Let’s hear what they had to say:

Now that you have seen them, describe the St Vincent show in 3 words?
Moments of brilliance.

Were you pleasantly surprised with the evening or did you leave with a modicum of disappointment?
Definitely pleasantly surprised – the expectation were reasonably low going in but I walked away with a smile on my face having been both entertained and musically impressed by the show.

Were you stunned with the size of the crowd?
Given there is a definite buzz about St Vincent at the moment, YES! I mean her latest album Strange Mercy was rated highly on a number of different ‘Albums of 2011’ lists, and the musical company she keeps is seriously impressive. She has played or recorded with The Polyphonic Spree, Safjan Stevens, Andrew Bird and Bon Ivor to name but a few.

So to see the main stage at the Melkweg half empty, with both the upstairs section and the back bar closed was a little surprising. You can only assume it was also a surprise to the organizers as it is hard to understand why they were not on the smaller stage where this size crowd would have felt much more packed and added to the atmosphere.

The on-stage imagery was obviously meant to add a visual stimulant to the music. What did you make of the 4 characters on stage and their role in the show?
Three of them were mostly forgettable, being made up of the drummer with the world’s biggest headphones, an Asian lady playing the keys and guy, also playing keys with a fedora style hat and looking like he may have once played in Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The 4th person, Annie Clark, was a striking pose of Rock.

Does an elaborate light show add to the live experience or distract from the music?
Well that depends on the band/performer. Most times if they are musically brilliant then I don’t want to see a flashy light display. If however there tunes amble along, then some carefully crafted lighting can make them appear better than they actually are. I thought this light display gave them a more Rock feel and this only added to the show.

Annie Clark is following in the footsteps of some great female rockers, who can combine a distinct voice with stage presence, musicianship and an ability to rock out as hard as their male counterparts. Where do you see her place within this school of rock?
Behind PJ Harvey and in front of Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine)

What song did you wake up with in your head the morning after the show?
Without a doubt “Year of the Tiger” has become the night’s most thought about and listened to tune. I love the “Asian style” opening riff. Cheerleader was a close second but that was more because of the live performance, not because the song is that good.

Where does this rate in this year’s gigs so far?
Well ahead of The War on Drugs but probably not as fun as Cloud Control.

So there you have it. They might have had only one bar open to get their beverages but at least the lines weren’t too long and the music rocked, leaving two pretty happy punters.


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