The El Rey, one of Los Angeles' more intimate venues, is the perfect backdrop for St. Vincent's performance. I was lukcy enough to experience this first hand at the concert last week. Though the location is standing room only, the sparkling chandeliers and dim lighting suggest elegance and charm that compliment the singer's dreamy, down-tempo vocals.
St. Vincent, the stage name of talented musician Annie Clark, is diminutive and humble, her only hint of defiance are the wild curls that cascade around her shoulders and bounce rebelliously in her face. The impressive voice that we were introduced to a couple of years ago when touring with Sufjan Stevens proves to be only more melodious in concert. What most were not aware of, however, is how talented and versatile, not only her band, which includes three men who alternate between violin, bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, drums and woodwinds were, but St. Vincent herself, who expertly strums an electric guitar during vocal breaks and instrumental rifts. St. Vincent is not an emotionally devoid guitarist either, she seems to curl into her instrument, falling to her knees a couple of times, as though the emotion in the song were punching her in the abdomen.
experimental Swedish band, Wildbirds & Peacedrums only began touring
with St. Vincent a couple of weeks ago, but their base-driven beats
and folk-inspired singing sets the mood and flows seamlessly into St.
Vincent's set. It makes sense that the husband and wife duo would
have great chemistry, Mariam Wallentin, the lead singer, has a surprisingly
deep alto voice and her husband, Andreas Werliin plays various percussion
instruments and provides additional vocals. Wildbirds & Peacedrums'
45-minute set is energetic and instead of leaving concert-goers antsy
or impatient for the headliner, they seem to appease them and they exit
to the enthusiastic beating of palms and whistles.
In addition to her stage presence, St. Vincent remains personable and modest, repeatedly thanking the crowd for their enthusiasm. She even plays coy with the audience's emotions, abruptly packing up her guitar and exiting the stage with her band, only to return several minutes later, teasing, "You didn't really think we were finished, did you?" She performs a flawless performance of Jackson Browne's ‘These Days' and brings her band back out to close the hour-long set with her popular track ‘Actor out of Work.'