For this post, the role of Music Blogger will be played by Videogum’s own Kelly Conaboy. Kelly is the biggest St. Vincent-head we know so this should be fun… -Ed
Ahhhh! So I just got home from seeing St. Vincent in the Temple of Dendur room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, and boy are my HEARTS tired! From loving it so much! Hahah. RIGHT? That was a great introduction to my burgeoning career as a music journalist. So, to get back into it right away with no segue other than this, the show was announced a few months ago and scheduled to happen on the roof of the Met, which sounded great, but due to warnings of a thunderstorm that never happened it was moved indoors. Booooo! Boo weather reports! But indoors was great, too. The Temple of Dendur was an amazing setting, where the events they have are generally for wealthy people donating money to something. A huge, beautiful space with a big slant-y glass window wall and an Egyptian temple with a pool around it, which is I believe how they describe it in ALL the brochures. “You really cannot go wrong,” is a slogan that I will eventually sell to the Met for $2000 about how it doesn’t matter if their concerts are indoors or on their roof.
Before the performance, I was under the impression that the concert would be a run-through of St. Vincent’s entire new album, Strange Mercy, coming out September 13th on 4AD records. I don’t know why I was under that impression? But, whatever, in any case it was NOT a run-through of the entire new album. It was just a few songs from the new album and then also a few old songs. BUT THEY WERE ALL GREAT! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s relax for a second.
St. Vincent has been getting more and more…well…She has been getting less and less delicate, I guess? With each album? Her first album, Marry Me, although it had its rougher moments, was mostly a collection of quieter and softer — though nonetheless challenging! — songs. But Actor got a bit rougher and grittier, and from what she played of Strange Mercy, it seems like she’s staying on kind of the same trajectory. That, mixed with the dancier styles of “NOW.” You know what I mean? Everything is real dancey these days. So is at least some of Strange Mercy! It seems!
So, to set the scene: Every girl in the audience was beautiful and wearing their cutest outfit. Every guy was a dork. There I was. Stage left. Right in the front. So close to St. Vincent’s beautiful face and hair and dress and talent. OMGoodness. She was so pretty. She and the band — which was not made up of anyone from her normal touring band from the past two albums — began around 7PM, with a track from Strange Mercy — “Cheerleader.” It was great. Kind of a mid-tempo badass GRRRRLL song, that kind of sounded like a song you’d hear in a ’90s teen horror movie except very good?, about dating guys who you don’t necessarily care about dating and not wanting to be their cheerleader anymore. “Uh, that’s not what it’s about at all.” – Annie Clark, probably. But oh well! She followed that with “Cruel,” the music video of which premiered earlier that day. That’s a dancey one. That song is great. Listen to it and watch the video right now. I listened to it honestly like 10 times after it premiered.
After that she played the opening track to Strange Mercy, “Chloe In the Afternoon,” which was another rough mid-tempo song — not the dancier “now-ier” kind of thing that I was expecting after hearing “Surgeon” and “Cruel.” But! It was great. I can’t wait to hear it again. After that, the opening synth-y chords of “Save Me From What I Want” played. And I was like, “What? Is this a new song? This is the same as your old song!” Because remember how I thought it was just going to be the whole new album? WELL. It was her old song! I was an idiot. So, she played that and then said, “I think you guys might know this one,” and then played “Marrow.” Uh, YEAH we know that one! We knew the one before it too! They’re both from the same album! We all love that album! A thing that was disappointing about “Marrow,” though, was that she didn’t do that awesome distorted slide thing at the beginning and then before the second verse. You know what I mean? She only does it sometimes and doesn’t do it on the album. Here’s a video of her doing it. I love that thing! Do that thing more, Annie!
Then she played a few more from the new album — “Champagne Year,” which was a slow burner, and then “Year of the Tiger,” which was one of my favorites of the night. It was rockier and sassier, with lyrics like “Italian shoes, not like these rubes know the difference.”
Her final song was “Surgeon,” the first song she released from the new album, with that strange Twitter thing. It ruled. But then it was over? Like, for real? There wasn’t even an encore! A guy next to me yelled “THIS IS BULLSHIT!” when the music came on at the end, signifying that it was the REAL end and not the fake pre-encore end. Which, you know, was a BIT much, but also it was bullshit! I WANTED MORE OF IT. But whatever. It was a great show. It was beautiful.
At that point I texted Corban, one of the new members of the Stereogum family, who was also in attendance. I had never met him before. He told me he was “stage right” when he meant “stage left.” CORBAN! But then we finally met. “So have you heard the whole album?” he asked me. “UH, NO I HAVEN’T” I responded. He said he had heard only a few tracks. I said, Corban, I am ALREADY upset with you, I have ONLY heard the tracks that have been released to the public.
And that is how me and Corban became enemies.
Here are a couple YouTube videos taken by Capnkoons at the show. All new songs!
03 “Chloe In the Afternoon”
04 “Save Me From What I Want”
06 “Champagne Year”
07 “Strange Mercy”
08 “Year of the Tiger”
[Photos by Bek Andersen.]