St. Vincent + Cate Le Bon at Metro | Live review + photo gallery
Cate Le Bon, St. Vincent's sole opening act, wooed a full house of hyped up people with her slow, drone-heavy tunes. The Welsh songstress was more subtly hypnotic than outwardly attention-grabbing, strumming on her electric guitar while filling the room with her minor-keyed music.
People go crazy for Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent. Speaking quietly into the mic, the Texas native’s mere suggestion of a comment issued laughter and cheering at her sold-out performance Wednesday night, as she took the stage after hypnotic Welsh songstress Cate Le Bon.
It’s not hard to understand why: Clark’s tightly constructed songs give listeners a sort of controlled chaos; her angelic voice hangs back over her gritty guitar motifs, building tension in one line and tempering it in the next. She started off her set with “Cruel,” the dark and catchy single off her recent release, Strange Mercy.
When playing guitar, Clark jerks as though she’s trying to tame a rogue steam engine, but she definitely gets the best of it, harnessing its energy into calculated, growling solos and teasing out a variety of moods in distortion-heavy numbers like “Marrow,” and “Northern Lights.”
On “Surgeon”, Clark gave us visual confirmation of her incredibly dextrous fingerboard work during the hook, a fantastic rising hysteria in both pitch and pace. A wash of sinister red light cast her in silhouette. Her live rendition of “Cheerleader” brought the song to a new place. It retained its enchanting, melodic attraction, but, unproduced it was rawer; the singer’s voice cracked a few times, and the syllables in “I,I,I,I,I don’t wanna be a cheerleader no more” were lingered over luxuriously.
During her cover of The Pop Group’s “She is Beyond Good and Evil,” Clark put aside the measured vocals of “Just the Same, But Brand New” and “Champagne Year” for a different approach that proved just as magnetic: an audience member yelled “That was fucking awesome!” It was a side of St. Vincent we hadn’t seen all night, unbridled and shouting “Western values mean nothing to her!” and going just as crazy as her fans.