Spin Magazine gave Annie Clark, of St. Vincent, the merit of number ninety-three on the list of 100 of the best guitar players, ever. Ever? This compelling factor enticed me to have to go see for myself, not that I’m a bona fide maker of lists of distinction, but it had to be worth seeing, right?
If you were one of the fortunate 700 who packed into The Stage, Thursday, May 31st, then you experienced one seriously intense and intimate, indie rock scene. And yes, she is THAT good. Annie Clark’s guitar playing certainly is magnificent. Its not that her fingers move any differently than some of the great players of our time, as they do, its her deeply moving and intimate relationship with the sensual core of her creations that set her apart and perhaps put her on that list. Her music is a marriage of imaginative indie lyrics, soulful, passionate vocals and incredibly timed cutting riffs that drop heavy when the need is almost evident, then rising with her hauntingly, melodic interludes with an undulating rhythm of frenzied excitement that even the most inanimate observer could not ignore. Her music is a reminiscent of those rare encounters when the perfect co-mingling of hormones, human nature, timing, and passion combust with no concern for consequence, in other words, young love. Yes, young, raw, love.
She began with the edgy “Marrow”, moving quickly from her cries of plea, “Help me” to a disturbingly brilliant guitar solo, one of many that evening.
She followed with a favorite, “Cheerleader”, their mouths moving with her her every word, “I know honest thieves I call family…..I-I-I-I-I don’t wanna be a cheerleader no more.”
The hipster crowd remained intensely captivated and graciously showed their appreciation through out the entire set of fifteen songs performed by the waif in gold sparkle.
After cutting through every song with the precision of a “Surgeon”, Clark, for the first time of the night, put her guitar aside. Standing close to the stage, holding her mic in one hand and reaching out holding onto the head of a fan with the other, she launched her tiny self into the crowd with utter confidence, bellowing out the song as intense as if she were standing solo under the spotlight. Adoring hands popped up to carefully pass her quickly through the crowd depositing her safely back on stage. Clark, not ready to return, launched right back into crowd surfing without missing a beat. The adoration rose to a frenzy, their cellphones and cameras catching every moment (http://youtu.be/gp7tZXGIkUY). Finally, breathless, she returned to the stage and graciously thanked Miami, then walked off with her band.
The crowd transfixed and not moving, chanted over and over, “ANNIE, ANNIE, ANNIE” until she soon returned finishing the night off with “Your Lips Are Red.” By this time her devoted fans were drenched from the heat, humidity and pure escalation of energy. When she began the haunting “your skins so fair its not fair” the audience began singing softly along with her and at which time she seemed transfixed by the sound of being sung to, closed her eyes and listened, fingers poised in the air, slowly encouraging the the chorus to continue. Then with pure gratitude and euphoria she sweetly said, “Goodnight Miami.”
Young love. For a moment I too, was lost in the feeling of how young love can feel once again.