St Vincent, Junction, Cambridge, 19 August 2014

There was a clear sense of anticipation tonight in The Junction, sold out a while ago for the first Cambridge appearance of St Vincent. To set the tone, the support act Arc Iris were also not following the standard rock or indie template. Composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Jocie Adams was accompanied on multiple keyboards by Zach Tenorio-Miller, one of her many collaborators. The musical styles kept changing, country-folk to jazz to florid prog-rock piano, at times within the same song. It was enjoyable, interesting and engaging listening.

I first listened to St Vincent when she recorded and toured the critically acclaimed joint album ‘Love This Giant’ with David Byrne. She is a formidable talent and stage presence, from her opening song ‘Rattlesnakes’ her two keyboard players and drummer laid down slabs of pounding electronica beats while her voice sailed above, punctuated by slick guitar runs.
As the show progressed her range and variation of stagecraft and music was evident, climbing onto the stepped platform for ‘I Prefer Your Love’, the later songs breaking out in guitar driven energetic weirdness. There were moments of bonding with the audience with random spoken observations but she retained the air of mystery and other-worldliness which added to the overall interest. A generous encore featured enigmatic introductions to her band, some crowd surfing on the security staff then she was gone…to charm and win over the next audience….


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