The rain falls hard on a humdrum Manchester evening and it’s easy to see how so many great bands with wit and wanderlust combined with a melancholia have sprung from these climes; it’s strangely equal parts beautiful and modern to behold, while at the same time being constantly sodden and forlorn.
Yet, like tonight’s headline act, Manchester Cathedral stands out around a sea of deliberate buildings. Perhaps similarly still, it hosts gigs and cultural gatherings these days and as such has learned to evolve with the times it finds itself in no matter how conflicted it may sometimes be. I couldn’t think of a better venue for a gig like this; a cathedral suits St. Vincent so very well in every way. The song I Prefer Your Love To Jesus performed in a ‘House of God’ is so wry and laugh-out loudly knowing that the sprawled out across a riser Annie Clark didn’t just revel in the occasion, she thrived in it.
St. Vincent walked out on stage to the very last note, it was very apparent that what everyone in this room was witnessing happened to be a woman in the peak of her powers. Terrifyingly, there still felt like even more was possible – Cheerleader was slowed down to exactly the right tempo for it to become a monument rather than the statue it once was. Rattlesnake felt urgent, genuinely performed as though a re-enactment of the songs moment of inspiration. Birth In Reverse was positively motorik in it’s propulsion and Huey Newton comes in with a riff that could potentially make Led Zeppelin cower.
It’s funny that Prince was in Manchester that night as Annie Clark seems to have evolved into a contemporary female equivalent. She struts confidently, she performs perfectly executed dance routines while at the same time reeling off guitar parts that would challenge mortals in the playing thereof just sat down in a bedsit with a bemused smirk… It was an immaculate performance that assimilated all of her best moments from past releases into where St. Vincent is now; a pulsating zeitgeist, an otherworldly prospect built from our worlds concerns and constraints.
Matthew Pease-Bower |