Photo: Nathan Barnes

Glastonbury 2014

St Vincent Shreds The Park Stage

Rolling around in a flat-cap and burning her fretboard with every solo; Annie Clark is all engrossing at Glastonbury

Unless you’ve been living in a digital-free recess with no TV and Radio, you will no doubt have heard that St Vincent’s fourth self-titled album was rightly crowned one of the best releases of 2014 - just two months into the calendar year. You have also probably heard that Annie Clark’s stage show has undergone quite the transformation; amping up her usual love of weirdness to oddball-meter busting levels.

The customary pink stairs are in place for St Vincent's set on the Park Stage, as well as Clark's intense stage presence; veering between creepy pulse-taking, controlled head jerking, fluttering eyelids, and graceful ballet shapes. St Vincent's fourth album tour was always theatrical, but this evening at Glastonbury, Annie Clark creeps through the gaps of her own persona. Whether she's giving a tentative look upward at the audience at the beginning of her set, or full-on hurling herself into the front row during opening song 'Rattlesnake', there's a slight, subtle loss of discipline which is totally engrossing to watch. When Annie Clark is let completely wild and loose on her fretboard in 'Surgeon' she transforms into a brutal, shredding force of riffery. When she tumbles down the pink staircase - very purposefully and methodically, like she's baking a cake for the first time with a new recipe - some of the people watching look confused, and meanwhile she looks like she's revelling in it. "Take out the garbage, masturbate," a lyrical highlight from 'Birth In Reverse', prompts smiles in the crowd, and Clark smiles, too, just as much. In 'Huey Newton' she cries "motherfuckers!", not because it's choreographed, but just because she feels like it.

The crowd watching St Vincent tonight at Glastonbury are no doubt a mixed bag of fans and newbies; there are toddlers there who were probably born around the same time as 'Cruel' (oh the irony) being bounced along in time to 'Birth In Reverse'. There are also people who have never, probably, seen anything quite like St Vincent marching around to 'Bring Me Your Loves' like a guitar-playing soldier stamping out tiny fires. Throughout there's been a building inkling that St Vincent has something else up her sleeves. Throwing herself into the photo pit again and flailing around like a puppet during closer 'Your Lips Are Red' - at some point stealing a flat cap from the front row - Annie Clark ends by rolling around on the floor and evading every single attempt to carry her away back to that stage. Finally, placing her new hat down on the floor with a professional smile, Clark finishes her set, before smiling directly at the audience and applauding them. St Vincent or Annie Clark? At Glastonbury the two merged together into one unstoppable thing.

St Vincent Played:

Digital Witness
Every Tear Disappears
Prince Johnny
Birth In Reverse
Huey Newton
Bring Me Your Loves
Your Lips Are Red

Tags: St. Vincent, Glastonbury, Festivals, Reviews, Live Reviews

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