Thursday, February 21, 2008
St. Vincent at the Echoplex
Do not be fooled by Annie Clark's angelic looks. Annie Clark is the mastermind behind her project St. Vincent. She plays guitar like the devil as she simply captivated the Echoplex crowd with her jaw dropping guitar skills. St. Vincent was accompanied by Foreign Born as they kicked off their U.S. tour with a bang at the Echoplex.
It seems like I just saw Matt Popieluch a few days ago when he performed in his solo project Big Search at the Hotel Cafe. Matt donned his Foreign Born hat and played a set of inspiring new songs that show tons of promise. They opened their set with a bass heavy version of "Into yr Dream" off their Dim Mak records debut "On The Wing Now". Ariel Rechtshaid (Bass) had traded in his Rickenbacker bass for a sweet Fender Mustang bass that was predominant in the mix but that could also have been due to the fact that I was right in front of him. Matt was playing his trusty Martin guitar as he strummed away. "Letter of Inclusion" is one of the many songs I recommend that my friends listen to with its opening synth swells backed by Matt's percussive acoustic guitars interlaced with some weaving electric guitar lines. "Early Warnings" had a walking bass line accompanied by a slightly flamenco electric guitar riff to infuse a breath of fresh air while flanked by vocal harmonies from the band. This song will easily turn some heads when it turns up on the new album. "Wait In This Chair" was another new song that had a lazy surf guitar riff that brought forth visions of a sunny day on the beach. I was impressed with Matt's performance in Big Search, but after hearing the new Foreign Born songs, I don't think Matt will have too much time for Big Search.
I really don't know why I missed the St. Vincent tour before with The National. I got my ticket early when I found out she was stopping by the Echoplex. Annie started the evening with a hypnotic version of "Now Now" as she had her Electro Harmonix POG pedal creating bell like synth notes on her Silvertone guitar. The songs ended in a storm of feedback and noise that would make other bands I have seen green with envy. The chiming sleigh bells of "Human Racing" made me think of Christmas time as Annie fingerpicked out the notes to the jangly tune. The amazing thing about seeing St. Vincent live is that the songs are recreated with a different flavor that still maintains the essence of the recorded versions of the songs but takes on a new life when performed live. "Jesus Saves, I Spend" sounded like a royal call to arms with Annie's voice as sweet as sugar. Annie sampled her voice and also was singing into her tin can microphone for some impressive vocal effects while the violin swayed in the background. I stopped taking pictures during "Marry Me" because you would have heard my camera shutter as the only sound in the room as the crowd was breathless. Annie would later address the crowd mentioning that the songs were from her album "Marry Me" and that it was a sincere offer as well as a quote from her favorite television show "Arrested Development". "Your Lips Are Red" was recreated in all its fuzzy bass glory and a matching mind blowing guitar solo. Annie will be making her way back to California for a spot on Coachella and I recommend you don't miss her show.