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St. Vincent shreds crowd to pieces in genre-bending performance

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St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) shreds a guitar solo on the elevated platform on center stage at Liberty Hall last night.

St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) shreds a guitar solo on the elevated platform on center stage at Liberty Hall last night. by Nadia Imafidon

It’s safe to say the good people of Lawrence who ventured out to the St. Vincent concert last night walked out of Liberty Hall looking disfigured. I’ll just say it: Annie Clark shredded our faces (or melted, if you prefer) with intricate guitar solos that soared and exploded at a moment’s notice.

Clark arrived onstage in a sleek fitted black cabaret-style dress with red details pouring across the front, and black heeled booties, in which she shuffled across the stage much like a roomba in her futuristic robotic act. To her left, incredible keyboardist and guitarist Toko Yasuda matched her sharp movements in rehearsed choreography and provided the celestial vocals to fill out the theater.

Captivated by Clark’s sly smile from the moment she opened with “Rattlesnake,” she floated across the stage while belting out lyrics (mostly from her latest and fourth self-titled record), delivering an unconventionally mesmerizing show. Maybe it was the vibrant silver-white hair or the deliberately strange hand movements, but the packed room stood almost still for the duration of each song as she delighted everyone with pop flair and shredding guitar work.

In between a few songs she’d look out at the crowd and recite the bizarre things they all had in common. For example, that we all had an imaginary friend at some point...named Mercedes...that we ended up killing because she ended up getting more attention than us. It didn’t matter what seemingly psychotic phrase came out of the indie robot; she had everyone holding onto each word like a cult leader.

The beginning of “Huey Newton” followed simplistic digital pop suit until the entire room shook with a seamless transition into heavy rock sounds that brought the crowd into worship mode for such an elegant female artist that packs an edgy punch about as harsh as it gets. This rock star is bending the rules of any genre she decides to fall into, and we’re into it.

The three-tiered platform provided a backdrop throne for Clark and a theatrical “Prince Johnny” act of Clark draping her body over the top step and slowly slinking down each step and finally to the ground in a sensual burlesque routine. She often dropped out of sight during the show as she’d flop onto the floor for added drama; the entirety of punk single “Krokodil” was spent flailing around and flopping on the floor.

It’s safe to say there were many who left inspired, the crowd sprinkled with local musicians. Ending the encore performance with “Your Lips are Red” from 2007 album “Marry Me,” the entire set was summed up with flashy strobe light work, passionate vocals and brutal sounds from a guitar goddess.

Set List

Rattlesnake

Digital Witness

Cruel

Birth in Reverse

Regret

Laughing with a Mouth of Blood

I Prefer Your Love

Pieta

Every Tear Disappears

Surgeon

Cheerleader

Prince Johnny

Year of the Tiger

Marrow

Huey Newton

Bring me Your Loves

Northern Lights

Krokodil

Encore

Strange Mercy

Your Lips are Red

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