Let me start by saying that on Wednesday, Nov. 16, a tiny woman in massive heels brought a packed venue to its knees. As one of my English pals so articulately put it, “She makes that guitar her bitch.”
St. Vincent brought out the largest crowd that I have seen at the Brudenell Social Club (although I haven’t been to that many), and rightly so. She has come off of one of her most successful and critically acclaimed releases, Strange Mercy. With anticipations high, the tension was palpable as the stage crew tuned the guitars, adjusted the lights, and kicked the fog machines into full gear, after a wait that seemed like an eternity.
When she did come out, the tiny Annie Clark in her high heels showed that big surprises come in small packages. Playing mostly off of the excellent Strange Mercy, the powerful sound of St. Vincent demonstrated the best of the recent album. Despite the amazingly forceful performance of many of her excellent new tracks, Clark came across as incredibly modest throughout those brief moments in between songs where she gave the audience a brief glimpse into everything from her music video for “Cruel” to her recent cover of The Pop Group’s “She Is Beyond Good and Evil.”
It wasn’t all constrained to the new work, as Clark and company provided some of the greatest moments performing older hits, including an excellent cover of “She Is Beyond Good and Evil.” It was St. Vincent’s performance of “Marrow” that they were able to give a much more intense life to, which cannot be given complete justice when listened to recorded. It was the encore that stole the show with an amazing rendition of “Your Lips Are Red.” It featured Clark jumping into the audience at the most intense moments of the track, and within seconds doing a complete turnaround and calming down the song to what was the end of one of the greatest performances I have seen in recent memory.
And on that night Clark certainly made that guitar her bitch.