BEING THERE: St. Vincent @ Union Transfer


Before St. Vincent could take the stage at Union Transfer last night, an announcement was made over the loudspeaker by Microsoft Sam, the voice of Windows text-to-voice app, asking the jam-packed crowd to refrain from the use of any digital recording devices, audibly disappointing the smart phone-wielding hordes, most of whom, we can safely presume, had already figured out what vintage filter they were gonna put on their Annie Clark snaps. The irony of a phone telling humans to put away their funs may or may not have been lost on the crowd. Despite my photo pass, I felt a little guilty watching the opening numbers of the set through a camera lens, especially during “Digital Witness,” which is an indictment of the 21st century mankind’s incurable addiction to technology and social media. When she finally took the stage, Clark looked like a cross between a mad scientist and a baby doll from Hell. Her frizzy haystack of white hair complemented her frilly little ivory dress which was covered in tangles of red fabric — it looked like an adorable display of torn-out intestines on a white tablecloth. Somehow Clark made it work, not unlike the way she makes the combination of sweeping orchestral maneuvers and shrieking, nightmarish art-rock work. Time and again over the course of St. Vincent’s set the audience was reminded just how effortlessly she can shred on guitar while singing like an angelic choir girl. At a few points during the show, Clark moved around the stage like a wind-up toy, and occasionally paused in place to do what seemed to be a graceful interpretive version of The Robot. Her between song banter was charmingly anecdotal and poetic. After tearing it up with her band for 16 songs she exited the stage, only to return for a solo version of Strange Mercy, and then rejoined by her band for an enthralling run through “Your Lips Are Red.” She ended the show with silent gestures of gratitude in the face of loud applause. — MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

[Set list after the jump]

Digital Witness
Birth in Reverse
Laughing With A Mouth of Blood
I Prefer Your Love
Every Tear Disappears
Prince Johnny
Year of the Tiger
Huey Newton
Bring Me Your Love
Northern Lights

Strange Mercy
Your Lips Are Red