Live: St. Vincent @ The Echoplex, Los Angeles, 2.15.08

All photos by David Greenwald

St. Vincent, round 3. I’d seen Annie Clark & Co. twice before (with her band at New York’s Bowery Ballroom and solo in Los Angeles, opening for the National) but the third time was the charm for a number of reasons. Clark is perhaps the prettiest girl ever to abuse a poor electric guitar so badly and she knows it: even with a curiously thick crowd in the way, the Wayne and Garth-style extreme close-ups on the screens behind her and framing the stage showcased arched eyebrows as theatrical as her soloing. And what soloing it was. Clark’s guitar tones – always influenced by Radiohead – invoked that band and the particular style of Johnny Greenwood more than ever before. The new version of “Landmines” may as well have been retitled “Subterranean Homesick Alien.”

Most of the songs had been rearranged and added to in some way – “Marry Me” and “Paris Is Burning” were slowed down and luxurious, while others had new extended intros. Though this hardly made the songs less accessible, the sizable crowd managed to chat through vast portions of them. I haven’t seen this many people at the Echoplex since the metal-heads came out in force for Boris, and even then the line didn’t wrap around the block. Was “Paris is Burning” in an iPhone commercial or something? I hope not – St. Vincent’s music is too fresh and challenging for audiences more concerned with checking their text messages. (For the record, St. V ranked in the top 10 on both our 2007 albums and songs of the year lists.) (Pitchfork was there, too.)

St. Vincent – “Paris is Burning”: mp3


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