ST. VINCENT The Olympia, Dublin
If ever you needed a warning about kneejerk hysteria on social media, St Vincent’s Fear The
Future tour provided it. Having completed her UK gigs, Twitter was abuzz with whining (sorry, complaints) about Annie Clark’s latest excursion. The first part of the show found the set being slowly unveiled as a curtain was gradually drawn back; apparently to some attendees, the fact that there was no band was shocking, as it made the experience less authentic and impossible to head bang to (or something).
As Clark herself has pointed out, shows being played by a single performer are never an issue in hiphop. She has described Fear The Future as a “live Lemonade”, which actually sums it up nicely. The lack of a band might leave the singer more exposed – and the early part of the gig certainly feels different to a normal rock concert – but this is really a performance based around her own distinctive style and charisma.
Dressed in an all-pink ensemble of a body-suit and thigh-high PVC boots, St. Vincent spends the first half of the set playing a minigreatest hits set, with the jagged art-pop of ‘Digital Witness’, in particular, beautifully capturing the contemporary zeitgeist (“What’s the point of even sleeping/
If I can’t show it?”). The second part of the show, meanwhile, consists of Clark’s album-of-theyear contender, Masseduction, performed in its entirety, with some brilliant arty visuals making for a dazzling multi-media experience.
The musical content is exciting enough, but St. Vincent really cements her connection with a couple of between-song speeches. First, she announces that a recent DNA test revealed she’s “80 percent Irish” (cue wild cheers); while later, she speaks about the importance of the communal experience offered by gigs in these fraught times.
Forget the Twitter guff – this was an outstanding show by one of the greatest artists of her generation.