First up though were a band which I’ve been trying to see for a long time but various circumstances have conspired to thwart me. But I finally got to see them and I’m glad I did. I’ve been a fan of their As Fools We Are album for a while, and their delicate brand of noir-ish folk-pop was a real treat live. I’ve got to mention the venue as well, as it’s the first time I’d been there. Basically it’s like having a gig in someone’s living room, complete with sofas and standard lamp, with the band playing in the corner. This intimate setting was the perfect place for Fireworks Night’s music, and the respectful hush from everyone in the room was a pleasant change from the incessant chatterers at London gigs. I definitely aim see them again – let’s hope the crowd’s as good as last night’s.
For the main attraction, the lights were dimmed to the point where Annie was almost playing in the dark, save for a couple of dim coloured lights and the occasional camera flash (a few of them mine). Given that Marry Me is an intricately and wonderfully orchestrated record, a St Vincent solo show was always going to be a bit different. But that was why it was so good. Don’t you just hate gigs where the band plays note-perfect rendition of their songs? You may as well have stayed at home and listened to the CD. What we discovered was that all Annie needed was an electric guitar, a couple of mics, some effects pedals and the occasional backing track to magically rework her songs to formidable effect.
The darkness in the room only served to make the cacophonous riffing at the end of Now Now and the start of My Lips Are Red seem almost terrifying. Unreleased track Bang Bang was a joy. And her closing song, a cover of Jackson Browne’s These Days was the perfect end to a brilliant show. She’s back in town in November. She may or may not have a band with her, but in any case, I’m so there.