Review: St. Vincent @ Metro & Millennium Park 6/7-6/8/2009

(All photos taken by Lisa White)

Unless an artist is playing a residency, you usually don't get to enjoy an incredibly talented act multiple nights in a row. Usually a band will come through town, put on a wonderful show, and leave you wanting more. But if you're a greedy music fan like me, you may have lucked into seeing St. Vincent twice this week, as she rolled into town Sunday to perform at the Metro before heading over Monday night to play the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.


Sunday night Annie Clark and company played to a full house at the Metro with opening act Pattern Is Movement. Pattern Is Movement is an odd looking duo, comprised of two burley bearded guys that both resemble a heavier Dan Deacon. Yet the music is soft and light with a slight nod to electronic. Singer Andrew Thiboldeaux's voice sounds like a direct relative of Antony & the Johnsons, as they mixed in their airy music with witty stage banter and a sing-along cover of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," a moment the audience wasn't expecting.

St. Vincent was next, and as Annie Clark walked onstage to a thunderous applause, she told Chicago hello before launching into "Marry Me," the title track off her first album. The set revolved around her latest release Actor, and also included popular tracks from her debut, as the band tightly wove the music together. Besides being incredibly talented herself, you can tell that her band is comprised of well trained and on point musicians, as they skillfully blend her multifaceted songs together to form a perfect union. Clark, doe-eyed and in all black, was charming, regaling tales from the road of touring, exchanging awkward and endearing compliments from the audience, and proclaiming that this was the best show on the tour so far.


The second night of St. Vincent's stay in Chicago was as warm and inviting as the first, as the band played to a larger audience during the Downtown Sound series at Millennium Park. The set was similar if not exactly the same as the night before, but still as technically impressive and engaging the second time around. Annie Clark seemed in awe of playing in the massive and over-the-top Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and thanking the audience for attending, stating that the band was glad to be there, but if the audience wasn't present, it would probably be a difference experience and emotion. Her quirky humor and charm was still evident from the night before, later on exclaiming with a sly smile "This next song is called "The Party," but don't worry, it's sad one." The new music takes on a more visceral and raw feel live, with even more feedback and intensity, especially evident in "Marrow" and "Black Rainbow, two new stunning tracks. Yet the one thing lacking at the Monday night show was the dramatic effect of the lighting at the Metro. You can't argue with a free and wonderful concert, but the Metro really intensified the experience with the beautiful lighting that complimented the music perfectly. Overall a solid two nights of beautiful and carefully crafted pop music with the charming and talented force known as St. Vincent.

If you haven't checked out St. Vincent's latest release Actor, make sure to pick it up and see what you sadly missed this past weekend. And keep your eyes open for the rest of the Downtown Sound series to see more innovative and impressive acts for free at Millennium Park.

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