(This review was originally posted at 10:13 a.m. Feb. 18, 2018)
“The world isn’t sane right now,” St. Vincent told the audience at her sold-out show at the Tabernacle Saturday night. “So let’s (expletive) dance about it.”
St. Vincent — aka Annie Clark — offered up plenty to dance about, both aesthetically and sonically, during her taut 90-minute set, the Atlanta stop on her Fear the Future tour that she launched late last year. Making like a feminist Fembot in a pink patent leather bodysuit and thigh-high boots, St. Vincent spent the entirety of the show onstage alone, accompanied only by increasingly eyepopping stage design, backdrops and videos.
The performance was essentially two shows in one, with songs from her first four solo albums making up the first half and the entirety of her most recent (and poppiest) output, “Masseduction” comprising the second half.
The show started with St. Vincent performing on only one quarter of the stage, the rest blocked off by a curtain that moved after each song, creating a disorienting effect, along with strobe lights, that served to complement the cacophony of tunes like the trippy “Now, Now” and the driving “Cheerleader”. After several songs, the drapes opened completely to reveal a backdrop featuring a wide-eyed woman with fangs, against which St. Vincent performed “Strange Mercy” while laying in the floor, eventually coming to her knees and holding her hands in prayer.
She unearthed the jarring stutter-step moves she used on her Digital Witness tour behind her self-titled album to round out the first half of the show on bangers such as “Rattlesnake” and “Birth in Reverse.”
The second half of the show saw St. Vincent perform “Masseduction” in front of a screen showing the color-saturated, “Black Mirror”-esque music videos that were filmed to promote the album, with a closeup shot of the artist appearing to be in a slack-jawed, red-lipped haze to start off the set. The staccato of “Pills” was sung in front of a video of her preparing for what seemed like an interview, while she crooned “I can’t turn off what turns me on” on the song “Masseduction” against a visual of a finger dialing an increasingly soft, crumbling 80s-style phone. “Los Ageless” was played in front of a video showing, fittingly, women bandaged from various states of plastic surgery, while the lilting “New York” provided a nice sing-along moment with a video of St. Vincent pushing a tilted cube as green smoke curls around her.
Feeling like like equal parts concert, visual art display and performance art, the show was at turns beautiful and discomfiting, setting us up to look forward to what she has in store for her sixth album — and beyond.
The complete setlist:
Hang on Me