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Review: St. Vincent @ O2 Academy Brixton, London

Annie Clark takes fans on a bold and vibrant artistic journey.

St. Vincent, real name Annie Clark, has never shied away from artistic expressionism. Tonight she does away with the conventional support band, opting instead to air her self-directed short story The Birthday Party, which sets the tone for the evening. The tale is beautifully crafted, yet unequivocally unsettling. It portrays a distinctive style of art, one that continues as Clark launches into a equally bold and minimalist performance.

Split into two parts, St. Vincent’s live performance is far from a tale of two halves. The first acts as a precursor for the second, building towards an extended climax that will see Clark play MASSEDUCTION in its entirety. It’s a bold move, but bold seems to be the name of her game. What comes before are ten tracks in chronological order, delivered hidden in part behind a series of changing curtains. It’s a deliberately slow build, before a wall of crushing guitar riffs played by Clark herself cut through and a vibrant stage is revealed.

 

From the appearance of the album cover in, St. Vincent doesn’t hold back. The understated delivery of her earlier material crashes into the thunderous beats of the likes of Pills and Los Ageless. All the while Clark stands alone on an elevated platform, a range of guitars being passed to her between tracks. The backdrop depicts abstract footage of hedonistic photoshoots, plastic surgery and sexual freedom. It plays out like a well considered arthouse project. When the strobe lights beat down on the isolated figure on the stage, the O2 Academy Brixton turns into an electrified rave. As on the record, Clark effortlessly jumps between the all-out and the reserved. Beauty runs throughout it all.

 

St. Vincent presents a musical journey through her own history, ending in her self-awakening which bleeds throughout MASSEDUCATION. Tonight is the product of an artist prepared to push convention, who rightfully believes wholeheartedly in her present and future.

To find out when St Vincent is playing near you, keep you eyes on Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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