"I totally know the difference between Boston and Somerville," Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, told the crowd at the Davis Square Theater, referring to the small Bean Town suburb and correcting her earlier, "Hello, Boston!" "I used to busk in Davis Square. I made $6 one day," she said.
It's safe to say that Clark, 26, who lives in Brooklyn and attended Boston's Berklee School of Music just across the Charles River, topped that six bucks Tuesday night with her Somerville show, which launched a five-week U.S. tour behind her new album, Actor.
The elfin guitarist looked like a 1920s flapper in her pouffy black shorts, lace tights, and bobbing black curls.
Clark and her four-man band dipped into her debut album, Marry Me, for a bold "Now, Now," during which she stomped her guitar pedal with tidy determination and knocked out some speedy, jagged riffs as violinist Daniel Hart bowed with equal fervor.
Mostly, though, she stuck with Actor's twisted torch songs. "The Strangers" gushed like an old Hollywood movie score, as flutist Evan Smith laid a cascading melody over Hart's languorous bowing and Clarks lyrics about a romantic tiff. As sweetly delightful as she is coolly distanced, Clark sings deceptively straight, leaving fans to double-take her clever lyrics.
While "Actor Out of Work," which floated along on burbling sax, was the set's poppiest moment,"Just the Same But Brand New" was its killer epic.Clark announced it as "our last song," before adding playfully, "What, no one here has ever heard of an encore?"
But "Brand New" was so magnificent that the ensuing encore was overshadowed.Its whirring organ and pleading violin joined with driving guitar squalls, before each fell away to leave the aching cry of Clark's sustained guitar chord. And if that wasn't the simplest and saddest sound ever.
St. Vincent tour dates:
5/19, Somerville, MA (Somerville Theatre)
5/20, New York, NY (Webster Hall)
5/21, Philadelphia, PA (Unitarian Church)
5/22, Washington, DC (Black Cat)
5/24, George, WA (Sasquatch!)
5/25, Portland, OR (Aladdin Theater)
5/27, San Francisco, CA (Bimbo's 365 Club)
5/28, Los Angeles, CA (El Rey Theatre)
5/30, San Diego, CA (Casbah)
5/31, Phoenix, AZ (Modified)
6/2, Denver, CO (Bluebird Theater)
6/3, Omaha, NE (Slowdown Jr).
6/4, Minneapolis, MN (First Avenue)
6/5, Milwaukee, WI (Pabst Theater)
6/7, Chicago, IL (Epiphany)
6/10, Lexington, KY (The Dame)
6/11, Nashville, TN (Mercy Lounge)
6/12, Manchester, TN (Bonnaroo)
6/16, Birmingham, AL (Bottle Tree)
6/18, Dallas, TX (Granada Theatre)
6/19, Austin, TX (Mohawk)