Monday 30 October 2017

On Stage: St. Vincent @ TivoliVredenburg

Every album or show Annie Clark comes up with is an event by itself. As St. Vincent she has thought everything through, her music, all the design and publicity around it. This time she even did interviews in a environment she fully orchestrated herself, in a pink room, all in line with the new album. Clark always seems to be in control and it makes you wonder about her new tour around the new album MASSEDUCTION.

St. Vincent at TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, October 27 2017

First the stage curtains open for a short film 'The Birthday Party' on a big screen at the back, her director's debut, an awkward story about a kid's birthday party that doesn't exactly go as planned. After a short break the curtains are drawn again for a short stretch and we see Clark all the way to the left of the stage, while another set of curtains hide the big screen. While she's playing some of her biggest hits she slowly moves to the right side of the stage as one of her roadies moves the microphone into the right spot. No band this time, only Annie Clark, her collection of guitars and a backing track. Her voice is clear and strong and she shows her amazing guitar skills. When she makes it to right side of the stage the curtains are closed again.

When Clark returns she has changed her outfit and is now standing on a low and small round stage, with the big screen again showing behind her. We get to hear the whole new album from start to finish while arty visuals are showing behind her, or the screen will just simply slowly change colour. It looks and sounds great and the album with songs like 'Pills' and 'Happy Birthday, Johnny' is incredible. It's been out for a few weeks now and together with a couple of music videos that have been released, some of it already sounds familiar to the fans.

Clark obviously is a unique artist, sometimes even compared to David Bowie, with a thought through concept and it is clear she's a great musician. However the lack of a live band makes the whole performance quite static after a while. The tight production of the show doesn't leave room for any improvisation making the performance quite static. The visuals are quite stunning and artistic so you get the feeling you're playing a part in one of her music videos instead of watching a live show. She only addresses the crowd a few times and doesn't really make a connection. In the end though that is what a live performance makes special.

Although the show is really clever and you have to admire her creativity, it leaves you behind feeling a bit unsatisfied after it's over. Maybe that is even the idea and is that what MASSEDUCTION is all about besides sex, drugs and rock and roll: a person in today's society who is surrounded by all these temptations driven by non stop commercials, the powerful media and cheap entertainment. They are hard to resist and in the end force a label on everyone, which in the end it just is not really satisfactory. Maybe this time Annie Clark made us part of that concept instead of just being spectators.

All Pictures

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01. Marry Me
02. Now, Now
03. The Strangers
04. Actor Out of Work
05. Cruel
06. Cheerleader
07. Strange Mercy
08. Digital Witness
09. Rattlesnake
10. Birth in Reverse

11. Hang on Me
12. Pills
13. Masseduction
14. Sugarboy
15. Los Ageless
16. Happy Birthday, Johnny
17. Savior
18. New York
19. Fear the Future
20. Young Lover
21. Dancing With a Ghost
22. Slow Disco
23. Smoking Section

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