Living in Toronto, I want to see as many local live music acts as I can with a goal to check out a gig at EVERY live music venue in the city and hopefully catch artists who don’t make it down to OZ too often. On a shoestring budget fraying at the edges, it means each day I surf the Net, read the free music newspapers and check out the local record store to see what is happening where, and who is doing a set.
The grey Fall day was cold and wet until I discovered St. Vincent was visiting Toronto in December and buying tickets to her concert created instant sunshine — no longer need I spend a day under the bedcovers wishing I was in Melbourne enjoying the fun around the summer festival season!
After spending a long day shooting a video clip of music I would not normally like repeatedly cranked into my eardrums, I headed off to hear St Vincent to soothe my nerves and let my ears heal. The Phoenix Concert Theatre located at 410 Sherbourne Street Toronto, is in an area I hadn’t explored so I made sure I was early, yet when I arrived there was already a decent sized line of punters hoping to get the best standing room in the house — right down the front.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, music geeks know the routine! We shuffled into the venue when the doors opened, grateful to escape the minus temperature but alert to seeking the perfect spot to stand and experience what I hoped would be a magical show. (By the way, for musos in Melbourne, the venue is a cross between the Hi-Fi bar and Forum Theatre). I am glad I bought the tickets straight away because inside we were packed like sardines at what must have been a sold out concert.
The supporting act came on stage - Cold Specks, and as soon as Al Spx the singer opened her mouth and sung the first note, I was mesmerized by a voice that deserves complete attention. Unfortunately only a few of us felt captivated — here’s my one gripe (a very BIG one) I have about the concert, and most concerts/gigs — why do people attend if they are going to talk all the way through a performance? Every artist deserves respect and it annoys me how many people have no idea how to do that, or refuse to listen. Cold Specks were amazing and Al Spx has the voice of an angel, her delivery full of passion, which set the mood beautifully for the charming St. Vincent.
In a haze of mist and alluring lighting, St. Vincent hit the stage with Annie Clark’s stunning silhouette edging through the effects. She began to sing in that haunting way she does — a superb beautiful opening with Surgeon. She played a lot off her new album (including two of my faves Cheerleader and Cruel) and performed gracefully and solidly throughout her set. There were some old tunes thrown into the mix to keep fans happy.
To me, Annie Clark has two personalities: — the sweet, haunting seductive singer and the crazy rocker chick who plays the guitar with attitude. At times, with the lighting she looked like an 80s rocker on stage, especially with her frizzed hair and gyrating slim figure. She plays her guitar with ease even pulling off the complicated fretwork with passion. The great sound echoed throughout the venue, my highlight being Chloe in the Afternoon.
All the songs sung awesomely (even when she forgot the lyrics to Dilettante and in a comedic playful way asked the crowd to help her out!). She mingled with the crowd and made the whole performance hypnotizing. The roars and claps from the audience confirmation that everyone had a great time and was impressed. When she dived backwards from the stage, guitar in hand, she was rightly confident that there was no way she’d be dropped after such a stunning performance.
Lucky Australia will be hosting St. Vincent on tour in March and this friends is a MUST attend concert. You will be truly amazed and enjoy a whole body sensation that your ears, eyes and emotions will love!
Save Me From What I Want
Actor Out of Work
Chloe in the Afternoon
Just The Same But Brand New
She is Beyond Good and Evil (The Pop Group cover)
Year of the Tiger
Your Lips Are Red