Photographs by Sean Chin.
You think you know Annie Clark, otherwise known as St. Vincent. You’ve heard all the hubbub about her. You’ve seen her go from brunette and shy to silver haired and extraterrestrial. You’ve seen her perform on Saturday Night Live and with Nirvana at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. St. Vincent marched out onto the stage in front of a massive crowd, and she came out without the puffy hair she normally sported but instead short, quaint braids. She yelled while talking about Swans out of excitement; She could be seen on the side of the stage drinking a glass of wine and wearing a dark veil during Swans’ set (and she was also featured on their album To Be Kind). With many moves that have been seen before, we believe we have the enigma known as St. Vincent figured out. With months of research waiting for this moment, with live video after live video being looked up, I was thrown enough curve balls to safely say that, no, one doesn’t know Annie Clark until they see St. Vincent live for themselves.
St. Vincent tried to talk about things that we all have in common, ranging from wanting to set things ablaze with a magnifying glass as a child to feeling anxious within a Tim Hortons. She has been putting on an act for sometime now where she takes on an alien persona that flops around like a rag doll and then will suddenly lock into place, standing at attention. She becomes robotic occasionally, especially with a lot of her moves onstage where she appears to be hovering around rather than walking (with high heels on, no less). She sings with her hands like she is Edith Piaf. She loses control of her senses like she is Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth. She slays her guitar while taking on a range of musicians within her fingertips (think Jack White, Jonny Greenwood and more). After her work with David Byrne and her newest self titled album, it may appear that St. Vincent is a being from another dimension. Annie Clark speaks to us, whilst still resembling an alien, with her own soul. She was that person who dreamed and made it. She can identify with anyone that came to see her.
The biggest surprises were when St. Vincent would add additional guitar solos to songs to freshen them up. We knew the Cruel guitar solo, but not its new accompaniment. We were given many new guitar solos in songs that already had them, as if these solos were a rejuvenated rendition of their respective orginals much like St. Vincent herself is. With a manic fingerplaying style, St. Vincent shred often enough to remind us that she is easily one of the best guitar players of our time. She has the stage presence of a goddess and the musical capabilities that are extremely difficult to mimic. She feels untouchable, but she will remind us she’s, again, one of us, with a slight smile and the odd wink during her set. As a performer, she’s a full package, and it’s damn good that she knows this now; She can fully showcase her talents as a whole. We still don’t know everything about Annie Clark, but Annie Clark is showing the world she may have discovered who St. Vincent truly is.