Posted in music | pictures on August 26, 2011

words by Andrew Frisicano, photos by Bao Nguyen

St. Vincent

By the time St. Vincent's Thursday night show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art started, the sky was once again clear (the calm before this weekend's storm). The concert was scheduled to happen on the roof, surrounded by the museum's collection of Anthony Caro sculptures. Instead, because of earlier rain, it was moved to the Temple of Dendur, an Egyptian temple housed its own wing with massively arched ceilings, a mesmerizing reflecting pool and a leafy view of Central Park (it's the same room where Glenn Hansard played and where the Met will be hosting Wordless Orchestra's free September 11th show).

The show itself was designed to serve as a preview for Annie's fall tour (and also as a release party for the new issue of Spin, the cover of which she graces). The bulk of the set came from her new album, Strange Mercy, out September 12th. For me, the record is one that I've been looking forward to all year. Annie's LPs (two so far) are always meticulously constructed, slightly damaged in subject matter and perfectly balanced between poppiness and otherworldlyness. To be honest, I was hoping the new one would jump off from her Our Band Could Be Your Life performance--all dragon-slaying guitar and ear-blasting feedback. Having heard much of Strange Mercy at the Met show, it's safe to say she went another way entirely.

From the start of the show--with its chilly synths and calculated beats--Annie refuted expectations. "I don't want to be a cheerleader no more," was an early hook in the 40-minute set that laid out just what Strange Mercy was all about. The song twisted in her characteristic way, but also had some of the synthy-sheen that's cropped up on two of my other favorite records this year (Kaputt and Bon Iver). She dictated that tone through her backing band--one member on Korg, one on Roland and a drummer with a laptop. Guitar, on other hand, seldom took center-stage: the two tunes that utilized it the most were Actor singles "Save Me From What I Want" and "Marrow."

Instead of flaunting her ability to shred, Annie showed off her talents as a singer and songwriter. On two ballads in particular, "Champagne Year" and Strange Mercy's title track (which had one repeated riff that reminded me of this), Annie gave the songs an emotional reading (you could see someone like Leonard Cohen singing up either tune). "Year of the Tiger" was another new tune that radiated classic composition. The send-off, "Surgeon," a song we've heard, was similarly ear-pleasing and heartbreaking, ending with a raw guitar solo and an explosion of jet-engine whirr.

People wanted an encore--the guys behind me clapped for what seemed like 10 minutes--but that was it.

More picyures from the show below...

St. Vincent

St. Vincent

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Comments (52)

Why does she bother me so much? She's never done anything to me. I've never even heard her music other than when she was on the Beck INXS Kick Album.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 11:30 AM

Bring on the hollandaise!

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 11:32 AM

Amazing photos, Bao.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 11:33 AM

Great pics as per usual, Bao!

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 11:43 AM

Yeah, these are some pretty great shots.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 11:44 AM

Disappointed that I missed out on this, but the whole show seems to be in YouTube anyway. As much as I appreciate the occasional concert bootleg video, what in the world is the point in showing up to a show, standing up in front, then proceeding to record the entire thing?

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 11:51 AM

awesome pix. awesomer show

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 11:52 AM

Great photos!

11:51, more Youtube hits = better than

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 11:53 AM

she doesnt bother me in the slightest

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 12:04 PM

if you're a giu and you went to this, you're __________.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 12:04 PM

new album is going to put yall on ur knees

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 12:05 PM

Reverb in that hall was way cool. I was next to some girl that was drawing the whole time. At least she held the pad at her chest instead of in front of my face like a fucking iphone.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 12:13 PM

I want to hit it soooo bad.

...and hellooooo AZN. Nice Moog honey bunny!

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 12:14 PM

Sick hair bob on her moog player.

Posted by 1234 | August 26, 2011 12:14 PM

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

Posted by Ted | August 26, 2011 12:27 PM

As the photo clearly shows, that synth is a Moog, not a Korg. The other keyboard is an Edirol controller.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 12:42 PM

Looks like Annie got engaged! Also how many people were there? Crowd looks surprisingly thin...

Posted by Anon | August 26, 2011 12:50 PM

maybe 150-200 people. annie looked great. real sexy dress on her.

new album sounded really amazing. i loved how 'year of the tiger' has some serious tomahawk chop influence going on.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 1:02 PM

sounds like an awesome show

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 1:23 PM

11:30, you need to hear her music other than the Beck/INXS thing - she's better than either

Posted by Mike H | August 26, 2011 1:45 PM

It was an amazing show. The crowd was a bit thin for the room because it was moved inside from the roof (REAL cozy/small venue) that very same day because of the rain.

The new album sounds amazing and the print poster they had was fantastic. Awesome experience

Posted by Stephen Brooks | August 26, 2011 1:46 PM

Great show - less than :30 mins though!

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 1:54 PM

I didn't really like the show. Very short and the sound was terrible (couldn't hear vocals for shit) from the two places I stood. Hope the sound was better for you guys up in the front.

But as an ex-archaeologist, it sure did look cool!

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 2:15 PM

This was a ticketed photo op, not a concert.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 2:34 PM

@1:54 she played from 7:20 until 8. that's 40 minutes.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 4:42 PM

who keeps buying her records? maybe she has really rich parents who buy up a ton of her releases so that the labels will put out another one

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 5:50 PM

Annie Clark has more attitude than most punk rockers like Converge.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 5:56 PM

I love her on the album but live she does nothing for me.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 6:24 PM

Must have gotten a new PR person for this new album. She is awesome, but she is blowing up leading up this LP.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 6:53 PM

sound was great at the front. and there was free beer/vodka. dunno why anyone is complaining.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 8:10 PM

this thing was way, way too short but annie is great.

Posted by Anonymous | August 26, 2011 10:27 PM

She is a *great* songwriter and musician, but people really overrate her "shredding" which really is most of the time a few notes or noise rock. I consider shredding what one hears in most 1970s and '80s rock songs. I think people just say that because she is pretty and hopelessly crushing on her. If she wasn't very pretty, I would like to see if people would call her the best guitarist around like I often hear. Go ahead and say something mean to me, but I think that it's true. I think her songwriting is underrated and guitar playing overrated. Not saying she can't play--she obviously can, but her shredding isn't mindblowing. Get over your crushes and judge properly.

Posted by J | August 26, 2011 11:19 PM

^^look at the surgeon video and the riff she is playing over and over effortlessly. she's a good guitarist with very clean and dexterous playing.

and she's hot. why hate or slight on that unless you don't like hot chicks who are good at guitar??

Posted by Anonymous | August 27, 2011 12:05 AM

This much is true: she was underrated before she was overrated. Nothing has changed but public perception, due in large part to exceptional and abundant PR.

Posted by Anonymous | August 27, 2011 12:20 AM

I didn't say she wasn't a good guitarist. I said she could definitley play and even said she is a great musician. Don't twist around words or imply things. I was commenting on her "shredding". She does sometimes but most of the time, it's more like her being one with her guitar and playing distorted simple notes. I don't qualify that as shredding. I consider shredding what you hear in most rock songs. No need to be rude. It's like people can't take any simple judgment that differs. Nothing wrong with her being pretty, I just feel that people overlook her shredding--NOT her playing as a whole--because they are just mesmerized. I know others who agree.

Posted by J | August 27, 2011 12:56 AM

12:20, I think the shredding thing has always been a bit overrated, but her songwriting is still underrated or at least meets the great merit it deserves. I'm a huge fan but I am allowed to have my own critiques. Sheesh. I think you who responded don't understand what I mean, or perhaps you just don't agree and are getting snappy.

Posted by J | August 27, 2011 12:57 AM

I remember when she played Other Music

Posted by Anonymous | August 28, 2011 12:35 AM

great pics, bao!

annie is sooooooo pretty. girl crush!!

Posted by Anonymous | August 28, 2011 4:42 PM

she is brutally cute.

Posted by Anonymous | August 28, 2011 11:07 PM

WTF no pit?

Posted by Anonymous | August 28, 2011 11:33 PM

What do you expect, it's not the Bowery.

Posted by Anonymous | August 29, 2011 4:25 AM

Just realized that Toko Yasuda from Enon is in her band now. awesome!

Posted by Anonymous | August 29, 2011 1:42 PM

Definitely deserves a quick wank session

Posted by Wank Session Guy | August 30, 2011 1:31 AM

whack

Posted by Anonymous | August 30, 2011 10:22 AM

I hope they feed this chick, she looks hungry.

Posted by Anonymous | August 30, 2011 11:18 AM

how does she like her eggs?

Posted by Anonymous | August 31, 2011 4:01 PM

not fertilized by you, that's for damn sure

Posted by Anonymous | September 2, 2011 3:31 AM

just let it spill down her throat, sliding along her sweet and earnest pipes.

Posted by Anonymous | September 2, 2011 6:39 AM

I've got a better idea: I walk out of here with the files, and you don't say a goddamn thing about it. How's that suit you?

Posted by Anonymous | September 2, 2011 2:49 PM

Why do these talentless cunts always dress like sluts?

Posted by What A Cunt | September 7, 2011 1:58 AM

pretty great photos, Bao.

Posted by alex | September 7, 2011 2:54 PM

Great talent. I wouldn't say she's a "shredding" genius of a guitar player but definitely better than most of the shit music blogged about on this site.

Posted by Anonymous | September 8, 2011 4:48 AM

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