Wednesday, June 10, 2015

St. Vincent Live - Review

Shortly after the Earth Wind & Fire concert, I had the pleasure of seeing St. Vincent at the Fillmore.  

What a show! 

In all honesty, before this concert I was really only a casual fan.  I’ve watched her performances on YouTube, listened to her albums in the background while working, but if you asked me to recite some lyrics – there’s no way I could do it (besides maybe a chorus or two).  At the same time, I was extremely excited about seeing the show because of all of the performances I've seen online.  If she was that good on video, the real thing should be spectacular.

And man, was it spectacular.  The sound was full and the choreography/art part of the show was intriguing and engaging...she absolutely blew me away with the total performance.

Annie’s stage presence is just awesome.  She commands the stage with ease and the crowd just loved her.  When I saw her perform I couldn't help but think of Kate Bush, except with a guitar.  It’s very dramatic, intense, and at times it felt almost sexual – but it all worked so well.  She plays with a lot of emotion which I can appreciate as well.

She had a great band with her too.  Daniel Mintseris is the "brain" of the band – he and Drummer Matt Johnson hold down the fort pretty well.  Toko Yasuda, on the other hand, was more involved with Clark throughout the night - almost like a sidekick.  

Almost Ron Mael-like (Sparks), Yasuda remains expressionless for much of the show, although I did manage to catch a smile while she and Annie joined heads during one bit of the show.  She has a presence all her own that compliments Clark very well.

The sound they produced was pretty awesome - and looking back on the concert, I think that's what had me thinking about the show long after it was done.  The mix between samples, soft instruments and analog made for one heck of a sound.  

Sometimes virtual synths, softsynths, etc. can sound pretty thin.  Even when those instruments and sounds are mixed with analog, it can still sound thin if not done right.  That wasn't happening here at all and I think what saved the sound from being too thin was this little monster:

Moog Minitaur

The Moog Minitaur.  Little brother to the discontinued Taurus 3 pedals, this thing shook the whole house.  Whether I was upfront taking pictures or in the back of the house observing - you felt this thing wherever you were.  I know this is not a Moog review, but wow - what a little bass synth this is.

I love watching people's reaction when instruments like this are used during a show.  They don't know what's going on, or what's causing that rumble inside their chest, but you know they are diggin' it because their eyes change and they engage with the music more.  There's nothing like a piece of analog equipment when it comes to nasty, thick bass.  I was really impressed with the bottom end that it added to the sound.  

As a result, the music just hit you like a wall and sucked you in.  It boosted the performance to another level altogether.

This was an unbelievable show.  It’s very rare that an artist can make me go out and buy everything they’ve done after a show, but Clark has my attention now and I did just that.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next time she comes around.  

This is one of those shows where even if you may not care for her music - you'll still be impressed with the performance.

Go. See. This. Show.

Here are some pictures from the show:

***As a side note, Sarah Neufeld opened for St. Vincent.  Because I'm not familiar with her work, I'll be omitting any kind of review for her as I wouldn't be able to talk intelligently about her performance.  I will mention that the crowd seemed to enjoy her performance though. ***

Sara Neufeld 

Sarah Neufeld

Jeremy Gara

 St. Vincent








St. Vincent / Toko

The other photographers and I wrestled with our arch nemeses, Mr. Blue and Mr. Pink/Red Light, as you can see below.  It was a challenging, yet fun show to shoot because of the drastic lighting changes that were happening in the songs - one of my favorites to date!

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