Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

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Posts Tagged ‘St Vincent’

This Must Be The Place w/David Byrne & St Vincent

Posted by xneverwherex on October 16, 2012

David Byrne & St. Vincent
(Love This Giant)
Orpheum Theatre
October 15, 2012

Somewhere between The Lion King, The King and I and anything else with King (according to David Byrne) is this show. The Orpheum Theater was nice enough to squeeze in a non-show between it all. And I could only be so lucky to see more shows performed there.

The Orpheum Theatre is a really beautiful theater with exquisite views. I have a feeling that whereever you are seated, you will have a great sightline. I was in the mezzanine and for once I was happy I wasnt in the orchestra. To watch all of the moves and see every last thing was worth it.

David announced from the beginning that the use of cell phones, cameras, videos, etc were definitely ok. He didn’t seem to mind anything, but said we might want to enjoy it without a black box in front of us. He was definitely right. The crowd, for the most part, rarely used their phones/cameras – sneaking it out once in a while to get a picture or two. And what a crowd it was. A respectful crowd that was beyond appreciative and beyond excited.

Finally, around 8:15 David Byrne comes out with St. Vincent (Annie Clark). Him sporting a white/black suit and her in a blue dress that might have been 2 separate pieces. They both looked great. The band, a 10 piece brass orchestra, also was sporting black/white attire. The band is more or less led by Kelly Pratt of Bright Moments, a Brooklyn band. He has also played with Beirut, Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem. The entire orchestra was comprised of members of other Brooklyn bands. Most notably was a trumpet player from Yellow Ostrich.

David Byrne/St Vincent

The show itself was simply awesome and beautiful. The songs off of ‘Love This Giant’ sounded great, even better than what I had heard streaming. The stark dance moves mostly seemed robotic. It was clearly choreographed and most times the band members were nearly stalking their prey (David and Annie). They would move around them, the horns blaring into their faces, as they circled them and taunted them. It was like being in the jungle as the performers all had their own moves. At times, Annie would lean against one of the guys and go to work like a mad scientist on her guitar. It was raw and it was passionate.

A lot of the songs were performed with either Annie or David at the mic. The other almost disappearing into the background, but then they’d join the other, and as quickly retreat. This really got to showcase all of their talents. He is the perfect frontman and great leader. He took the band from song to song. The highlight (not speaking of all the covers!), was ‘Cheerleader’. The band, save for Annie and Rachel (another band member), was lying on the floor and soon were playing their instruments lying on their backs. It was pretty incredible watching these trumpeters play on their back. They slowly got up and the whole piece was extraordinary. Annie’s vocals were nothing short of impressive. ‘The Forest Awakes’ also showcased Annie’s talents and her smoky, raw vocals sounding almost like she should be in a burlesque bar. Its hard to not be captivated by her.

I was never a huge St Vincent fan, and I had seen her a bunch of times, but in this she was perfect. She was robotic, spastic, her moves not quite polished. She was shaky, with a nervous energy the way she moved and it worked out perfectly. Her own songs had never sounded better with the backing band. Her guitar playing not as overly aggressive as can be.

And of course, David Byrne. Having never seen him perform before, I wasnt sure what to expect. But he delivers. With his shocking head of white hair, he is an entertainer. He’s talkative, funny and clearly having a great time. And it was great that there were some Talking Heads songs sprinkled in. ‘This Must be the Place’ is a really catchy Talking Heads song and got the crowd singing along. A girl in front of me started dancing with reckless abandonment. It started something, because when St Vincent played her solo songs, 2 guys started dancing clearly enjoying every moment of Annie’s voice.

All in all it was a great set. It was great to hear Annie talk about first hearing The Talking Heads in ‘Revenge of the Nerds’. As she said ‘the best song placement ever’, when referring to ‘Burning Down the House’. She also talked about an aunt/uncle in the audience who helped her become who she is and getting her into music. You could see the show meant a lot to her.

The band had 2 encores and the crowd never let up. Enthusiastic till the very end. Dancing throughout the theater and everyone having a good time. And a congo line for ‘Road to Nowhere’… seemed way too fitting as they closed out the set.

Set List:
Who
Weekend in the Dust
Save Me from What I Want (St Vincent)
Strange Overtones (David Byrne)
I Am an Ape
Marrow (St Vincent)
This Must be the Place (Naive Melody) (Talking Heads)
The Forest Awakes
Optimist
Like Humans Do (David Byrne)
Lightning
Lazarus
Cheerleader (St Vincent)
Lazy (David Byrne)
I Should Watch TV
Northern Lights (St Vincent)
The One Who Broke Your Heart
Outside of Space and Time

Encore:
Cruel (St Vincent)
Burning Down the House (Talking Heads)

Encore 2:
The Party (St Vincent)
Road to Nowhere (Talking Heads)

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Im The Great White Hope

Posted by xneverwherex on December 15, 2011

The National
Sharon Van Etten
Beacon Theatre
12/13/11

The National have returned home (well across the river anyway) to finish up the year with 6 nights at the Beacon Theatre. These are the final shows for the latest album, High Violet. It seems like they have been out supporting this album now forever. But the time has come, and this is it.

The National came out to what felt like the longest version of Duran Duran’s ‘Wild Boys’. Finally, after the entire song had played the guys came out to a fairly sedated theatre. They opened the set with ‘Start A War’ which is a pretty slow song and not a bad way to start the set. Continuing with the Boxer album, they went right into ‘Brainy’ which was beginning to get the crowd excited. Slowly, people started getting on their feet.

The National

Matt joked about the prior night with some people standing, some sitting, random parts of the theater doing their own thing. And encouraged us to do what we wanted. At this point everyone was standing in the orchestra. Sadly, it was not the case for the upper levels. The sound was just beautiful in the Beacon. It filled the entire room with Matt’s soaring vocals. The Dessner brothers sounded really great on guitars and keyboards.

As with most of their shows, there were a few special guests. Conrad from Takka Takka was an additional drummer who played the entire set. At one point it sounded like they were introducing an ‘Andy’ Clark, but nope it was actually Annie Clark of St. Vincent. While she isn’t Sharon Van Etten (who is, really?), she did add some nice harmonies. She performed with them on ‘Im Afraid of Everyone’ and ‘Sorrow’. I wasnt sure those songs needed her (well esp I’m Afraid of Everyone), but it was great to see her accompany them.

As always Matt made a few appearances in the crowd. He did come over to the section that I was at and was hanging on the stairs but no one even seemed to pay him any mind. It was sad and beautiful all at once and then he was back in the front singing in another corner. It always has a nice feel to it, even if its become part of the stage show.

The visuals and lighting worked out quite great. Unfortunately for Sharon Van Etten, there was a heavy spot light on her, that had you seeing dots in your eyes after about 5 seconds. But that was gone, thankfully! With the backdrop screen of images of the band members and the crowd, you were always able to see the entire band and the guests.

It was great to hear them introduce Sharon Van Etten who came out for a proper encore with them on ‘Think You Can Wait’. And from that they went straight into ‘Fake Empire’ which always sounds amazing live. Other highlights included ‘Abel’, but really to the girls behind me, how do you talk through that whole song. The crowd was revved up and peoples hands in the air and singing along. It is one of my favorite songs performed live along with ‘Mr. November’. Sure, theres songs I didnt get to hear ‘Mistaken for Strangers’, but with all the times Ive seen them, I seriously cant complain.

Easily the very last song was the crowning moment. The band had left the stage only to come back center stage with Annie Clark, Sharon Van Etten, and of course, Wye Oak. I wasnt entirely sure it was them but it sure was! ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’ was just beautiful. Sans microphones and the entire band huddled together was a pretty awesome way to end the night.

And while Ive mentioned her a few times, I can say that Sharon Van Etten always sounds amazing! She has some of the strongest vocals. Her songs are great and kick-ass and her new guitar, oh yeah, looking pretty sweet. And of course, it meant we were treated for a song or two with Aaron Dessner. The pair of them make beautiful music together.

For those hoping for one last time, (for now), its highly recommended. The shows arent sold out and theres an abundance of tickets around. Not that Im one to actually promote using stubhub or the like, but since theres so many shows now, it seems you can get same day tix for $17. Either way, if you havent yet seen them, there still is time.

Setlist:
Start a War
Brainy
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Squalor Victoria
Afraid of Everyone
Conversation 16
Rylan
Abel
Lit Up
Wasp Nest
Sorrow
Anyone’s Ghost
I Need My Girl
England
Mr. November

Think You Can Wait
Fake Empire
Terrible Love
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

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