Live at The Sage, Gateshead
Texas-bred singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist St Vincent, aka Annie Clark has been making a stir and with some media hailing her the new Bush (Kate not George) and Bowie. This tour accompanies her fourth and self-titled solo album, with previous work in the Polyphonic Spree, with Sufijan Stevens and David Byrne. Mighty intriguing. Tonight the crazy grey curls are slicked back and she’s in a marvellous mini frock of sequined bleeding eyes and mouths. She’s toting a black Harmony Bobkat and a three piece band that sadly we don’t get to meet, front keyboards, guitar and legs (think Robbery Palmer’s Addicted to Love backing troupe), keyboard and electrofuzzery, and drums on platforms to rear. "Rattlesnake" gets the ball rolling. Most of the performance is tightly controlled. Annie, and sometimes guitar 2, shuffle round the stage like synchronised wind up geisha dolls. The effect of strobe lights across four shuffling legs is surprisingly mesmerising! There’s choreographed arm gesturing, or maybe semaphore? Control is abandoned for the fantastically distorted funk rock meltdown guitar solos. There’s some kooky stage patter, or should that be ‘communing,’ between artist and audience. After tuning into us (and humanity) we are told our nickname is peaches and we are orgiastic. There are also some philosophies on shoplifting. Rear stage centre is a white pyramid podium. There’s "Prince Johnny" and some rock posturing atop, sexy lounging for "I Prefer Your Love" and a beautiful stage death as she slowly rolls down back to ground. Life is restored with "Birth in Reverse", followed by the dirty electro guitar fuzz of "Regrets" and "Bring Me Your Loves". I swear I heard some Tears for Fears in there too. "Strange Mercy" soothed us for the encore. Great music, brilliant guitar, intriguing art. Go see for yourself.