TARA CARLIN reviews St Vincent’s epic performance at the Roundhouse
St Vincent brought an electronic apocalypse to the Roundhouse on Saturday 25th October 2014. The event was a pandemonium of the artist’s imagination, yet self-controlled, sharp and sardonic. With the astounding strength of her lead voice in unity with her stellar instrumental ability, a hybrid of eargasm-provoking symphonies were crafted. Full of insightful, witty but also freakish anecdotes, Annie Clark served the “freaks and outsiders of London” with an electrifying musical performance as well as a theatrical one.
Following an automated announcement served like the voice of an electronic God, St Vincent presents her distaste towards the post-modernist obsession with technology through opening with ‘Rattlesnake’ and ‘Digital Witness’ along with a series of robotic dance moves.
She described closing a suitcase as “the best feeling in the world”. She presented a narrative describing the many traits she “had in common” with the crowd, one being the ubiquitous memory: “Remember when you tried to light a fire with a magnifying glass and burned down your whole neighbourhood?” Who doesn’t?
Annie Clark presented an eclectic, Technicolor mix of tracks from all her albums, perfectly intertwining her selection to create a spine-chillingly consistent pace throughout her show. No moment went to waste or felt superfluous. The variety of performance designs juxtaposed to alleviate the constructed chaos Clark so clearly intended. From the still and subdued presentation of ‘I Prefer Your Love’ to the nimble acceleration of ‘Actor Out of Work’, Clark provided a magnitude of inventive, innovative and frankly ingenuous performances.
From fans only aware of her albums, the song preceding the encore: ‘Krokodil’ was a fierce awakening. Intensely heavier than any of her other songs, it produced an invigorating climax. Thankfully, Annie blessed us with the delivery of an affectionate solo encore of ‘Strange Mercy’ and ending with a coarser, heavier and augmented version of ‘Your Lips are Red’. Of course, the artist took the opportunity to have a break mid-song to crowd-surf. To call her gig a theatrical epic would be no understatement, in fact, ‘epic’ indeed epitomises the show St. Vincent served to her London fans.