The Edinburgh International Festival is drawing to a close and it seems that this year, more than any before, the Festival has brought contemporary music to the stages of Edinburgh. Annie Clark is better known as St.Vincent and is presenting her new live show I Am A Lot Like You. The event combines music and video art and gets its title from the track Sugarboy.
St.Vincent and her band enter the stage of the Edinburgh Playhouse to the customary rapturous applause. The aforementioned Sugarboy kicks things off, followed by Los Ageless and then Masseduction (the title track from her latest album). It is a striking and explosive start. Lights behind the performers pulsate with the music and a large screen to the back of the stage shows a series of short films to accompany the songs. Each film bestows an abstract and engaging piece of performance art and gives the show a visual edge with costume and choreography being presented to great effect.
Album Masseduction is the main focus of the set, but when we get to the classic Digital Witness, St. Vincent has the audience in the palm of her hand and we can’t take it anymore. The majority of the audience rise to their feet and can’t help themselves but dance. The Playhouse is a prestigious venue with a great sound and a big stage, but a seated venue does not suit the upbeat and infectious rhythms that are being unleashed with complete abandon tonight.
The band stand to the front of the stage in a straight line- Toko Yasuda (bass), Daniel Mintseris (keyboards) and Matt Johnson (drums). The band is in costume and give the aesthetic of the video art a physical body. The drummer and keyboard player are wearing stockings over the faces and have blonde wigs on. It is strange, curious and unnerving, but works brilliantly and underlines the visual excitement that St. Vincent is bringing to the stage. St.Vincent is stood stage right and immediately draws attention to herself; wearing large red knee high boots and a playing a series of brightly coloured guitars (her own signature edition from Ernie Ball) that she seems to change after every song.
The main set ends with New York, a pensive and thoughtful track that counterbalances the rock and dance that has preceded it. St.Vincent returns with a three song encore and the I Am A Lot Like You live show concludes with Annie Clark alone on the stage, serenading us with the song Severed Crossed Fingers and it is a wonderfully enchanting experience.