St. Vincent

Berkeley Street Studios

September 12, 2011

Better Than: Watching the Raiders and Broncos.

Fresh off a cameo appearance with her favorite band The National at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday night, Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, played a private, intimate gig at Santa Monica's Berkeley Street Studios. The show was sponsored by KCRW, and populated by lucky listeners who had a chance to hear St. Vincent's new album, Strange Mercy, live on the eve of its release.

Though it can be difficult to play new material in such a small setting, Clark pulled it off. “The third album is like the third kid, you don't really care if it bathes or shits,” the singer said to KCRW's Jason Bentley during a mid-set interview. Interestingly, audience members were very familiar with the songs from her new record.

Tracks like the haunting “Champagne Year,” “Year of The Tiger,” and “Surgeon” translated well live. The three-piece backing band helped shape the sound and added an extra dimension, so that the diminutive singer could focus on her intricate guitar playing and vocals.

Facing a ton of hype — coinciding with her Spin cover story — Clark handled herself well, even in the face of some adversity. Just as she was settling into a groove on the makeshift stage, her set was interrupted by the Bentley interview for an upcoming Morning Becomes Eclectic. It took Clark a song to settle back into the groove, but it didn't seem to adversely affect the 150-person strong crowd.

Clark performed the Strange Mercy songs confidently and with ease. The singer's pedal board for her guitar was her best friend, as she varied experimental sounds throughout the set. Whether it were funked out grooves or futuristic sounds, Clark struck a strange familiarity that resonated.

Now one of most hyped artists in some time, St. Vincent previewed what's to come on her upcoming tour. If last night is any indication, folks should have high expectations.

Random Notebook Dump: KCRW provided free beer, wine and Kettle Chips. Sorry Charlie, but that's #winning

The Crowd: An eclectic mix of scenesters, listeners and fans made for a good mix.

LA Weekly