Photography and review by Joe Stadele for TWTHS. Published 05/04/2015
As brutal waves of rain gave way to blue skies and white fluffy skies, repeated patterns of rain and sunlight hit Madison, Wisconsin as fans (and the uninitiated) congregated at the Orpheum Theater to witness, the one and only, Annie Clark. Since the release of her self-titled album over a year ago, St. Vincent has stampeded audiences around the world, night-after-night. Having witnessed the band’s evolution over the course of the tour, Clark and her (touring) bandmates exercised confidence, precision and synchronicity; pulling together and pulling off live versions of the endless diversions of the St. Vincent catalog. Clark and company pulled off a dramatically flawless performance as they kicked off, yet, another leg of her endless Digital Witness Tour.
From the moment she took stage (with her freshly chopped locks), “I love you Annie’s” could be heard throughout the night. More than fan affection, the sold out audience stood transfixed from the excitable opener “Birth In Reverse” — to the sweet and reminiscent “Teenage Talk” — to the blood-thirsty show-closer “Your Lips Are Red.” The band was united in sound and movement. Electro mastermind Daniel Mintseris revealed hints of Bjork’s “Army of Me” in the low end of “Regret.” Clark and Toko Yasuda robotically dueled on guitars through “Cruel.” Later, the duo dueled it out as they transformed the mathematical “Huey Newton” into a thunderous and stomping rocker. The entire band got involved in the choreography during “Bring Me Your Loves.” Clark only relaxed for dramatic effect. Sitting cross-legged on a pyramid-shaped riser with her hands crossed over her heart during “I Prefer Your Love.”
The most dramatic moments of the night were reserved for the second half. After a lengthy and amusing monologue (see below), the band played the gorgeous “Teenage Talk.” Clark mimicked the movements of Yasuda and Mintseris’ keys as Matt Johnson complimented the song with gentle percussion. The manic “Krokodil” elevated the show into the encore as Clark moved and danced manically, propulsing herself across the stage. Returning to the stage, Clark stood upstage as Mintseris remained nearly hidden in the back for “The Party;” accompanying with keys reminiscent of a ballerina music box. Not to end on a solemn note, the full band returned for funk-ridden fan favorite “Surgeon” and a bruising and ominous “Your Lips Are Red.” Pulling a page out of the Prince book of awesomeness, Clark thanked fans by letting her guitar do the talking — hurling her guitar into the audience as she rested on the shoulders of a security guard, retracting her guitar and throwing it once again as she walked the beam of the audience barricade.
Joining St. Vincent for the tour was the talented Sarah Neufeld (of Arcade Fire fame). Taking a break from work on an upcoming album, Neufeld opened her set with a straight violin instrumental (titled “F.O.A.”) Afterwhich, her cohort Jeremy Gara (also of Arcade Fire) joined Neufeld on stage as they played selections from her upcoming album. Click here to listen to the first single, “We’ve Got A Lot.”
St. Vincent will continue to the Digital Witness Tour through August. Click here to stay up to date on her latest tour dates.
St. Vincent’s Madison Monologue:
“Hello, fine friendly people of Madison, Wisconsin. I think we have a number of things in common. I think, well, for example, you were all born before the 21st century — and if you had the chance, you would take that spaceship to the moon and advance your own colony there. Sometimes when you walk down the street, you do a double-take because you see someone that you think is a famous person…and then realize, “Oh no, that’s not a famous person, that’s my best friend.” And once when you were very small, you decided that you were going to fly. So you built the oddest contraption out of two pizza boxes. You affixed them to either arm, and you went up onto your roof with the best of intention. And you jumped off, fully expecting to soar far off into the heavens, far, far away from Wisconsin. And once, you landed hard on your knees and you skinned them — and you looked at the part where the skin and the rest of the gristle parted and you were suddenly aware of your own mortality. But, not so much that you decided you should not stop trying. So you got up again and again and again and again and each time you met with just the slightest bit of disappointment. But, the reason you are here, and the reason that I am here, on this planet Earth right now, standing, sitting, breathing, feeling some how alive is that no matter how many times you tried and failed and tried and humiliated or tried and succeeded, no matter how many times we put ourselves on the line, we always got right back the fuck up! “
St. Vincent’s Setlist:
Birth In Reverse
Year of the Tiger
Actor Out Of Work
I Prefer Your Love
Bring Me Your Loves
Your Lips Are Red
Sarah Neufeld’s Setlist
They All Came…
We’ve Got A Lot
Where The Light