Andrew Bird, St. Vincent @ Cats Cradle

We saw this guy last night.

Nikon D90, 18-105mm

It was the second of two sold-out shows. And, for whatever reason, we were probably two of the 10 oldest people there. Everybody else was college or high-school age. This is a change from a lot of shows we’ve seen (ex. Robyn Hitchcock, Belew, Junior Brown, etc) where we’re the youngest b far. What kind of shows do people our age go to see ?

Nikon D90, 18-105mm

Whistling and playing the same melody on a glockenspiel, while holding a guitar chord. The guy’s a genius.

The mic in front of his glockenspiel is in 90% of all the shots I took. I should’ve moved it out of the way – it was only inches from my face.

Nikon D90, 18-105mm

He was great, as usual.

And unlike last time, we could watch him work his array of samplers and effects – shoeless, no less.

Nikon D90, 18-105mm

He had a band with him this time, which made for a bit of a different experience than when he’s solo – louder for sure, more focused too.

St. Vincent opened.

Nikon D90, 18-105mm

I’d never heard her before, not even of her, actually. St Vincent is the stage name of Annie Clark: the guitar player, singer, songwriter, etc., behind it all. What she, and her band, sounded like was… usually melodic though sometimes brutally harsh and dissonant, loop-based, complex in both layering of parts and in rhythm and structure, dense, with multi-layered (sometimes looped) vocals delivered by a woman who spent a lot of time with a haunted distant look on her face. She was also a really good guitar player.

Nikon D90, 18-105mm

Unfortunately, I didn’t really get into most of it, because the sound where we were standing (right in front of her), was just a huge barrage of noise. That’s what I get for standing up front – I don’t necessarily blame them. The crowd was more familiar with her stuff, and they seemed to love it.

Curious, I listened to some of her stuff on iTunes, today, and it sounded like a more experimental version of Fiest, or a more melodic Deerhoof. All that dissonance and harshness from the live show is pushed way back in the mix, the parts that jutted-out like rusty knives last night are texture in the studio, and the result is shiny and pretty. I like it.

3 thoughts on “Andrew Bird, St. Vincent @ Cats Cradle

  1. marianne

    I enjoyed the photos and writeup! I was there for the first night and am still obsessed with searching blogs for mention of Andrew Bird (which is how I found your entry).
    I hadn’t heard of St. Vincent before and had a hard time with the music. I did think that perhaps being right in front of a huge speaker didn’t help. The loudness and the pounding rhythm actually made feel a bit sick, and at one point I had a mental image of having my intestines yanked out while helicopter blades chopped the air dangerously above my head.

    I don’t know how old people your age are, but I’m younger than Andrew Bird and older than most who were in the audience. I was kind of surprised at the number of people who seemed to be of high school age. the sort of concerts I go to are Over the Rhine, Eleni Mandell, Neko Case, and Gillian Welch, and I haven’t felt age-conscious at those concerts. Except one time Gillian Welch was touring with Bright Eyes, and the audience seemed to be mostly high school age, which was enough to make me feel old and crotchety. The ones around me didn’t seem to appreciate Gillian Welch, so all the more they made me grouchy.

    This must be the longest first-time comment I’ve ever left on a blog. I might as well add that I like your other photos, especially the cat photos, and that you link to Savage Chickens, my favorite web comic. So I’ll probably keep reading and maybe even comment again. :)

  2. cleek Post author

    The loudness and the pounding rhythm actually made feel a bit sick

    oh yeah. those speakers @ the Cats Cradle are insane. that’s why stand right up at the front whenever i go there. i actually left a Yo La Tengo show once because of those speakers – too frikkin loud.

    I don’t know how old people your age are, but I’m younger than Andrew Bird and older than most who were in the audience.

    i don’t know how old he is, but i’m guessing we’re just a couple of years older than him.

    The ones around me didn’t seem to appreciate Gillian Welch, so all the more they made me grouchy.

    understandable. not appreciating Gillian is a sure sign of dementia. i’d feel uncomfortable, too.

  3. Mark

    St. Vincent played a great show, i’ve devoted a lot of time listening to her albums. Live is the way to go with Annie Clark.

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