St. Vincent - Fillmore Miami Beach

St. Vincent

Fillmore Miami Beach

Monday, October 6, 2014

Better Than: Doing the Automaton Shuffle alone.

"Hello to all of you men and women out there," said St. Vincent, welcoming a few thousand art-rock acolytes to the Fillmore Miami Beach last night.

"And," she added, after a pregnant pause, "all of you who fall into the gaps between those two genders."

It was an uncommon and quite formal (if highly enlightened) way to kick off a couple hours of rock 'n' roll.

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But that's the thing about St. Vincent, otherwise known as humanoid entity Annie Clark ... She is uncommon and often quite formal, even strangely so, especially for a rock star.

In fact, Ms. Clark sometimes seems as though she just might be the most highly advanced, intellectually elevated, emotionally controlled, and socially sophisticated of all entertainers on Earth.

But also ... Perhaps post-human. Maybe a robot.

Beautiful, intelligent, talented, yet distant -- Clark's always cultivated a public persona that doesn't rely much on raw human qualities, like undiluted anger, or conventional rock-star appeal.

Instead, she belongs to the high-concept, deeply performative art-rock tradition of David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, and David Byrne, with whom she released last year's collaborative Love This Giant.

So, in short, St. Vincent's music is never exactly about the real Annie Clark. It's more about her fictional self. Or selves.

And now, for the new self-titled St. Vincent album and accompanying tour, Clark has actually slipped deeper into character -- adopting an even chillier, mechanical facade that's sometimes tough to love, though alluring as ever.

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S. Pajot

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