By Raegan Hedley (@raegjules)
WINNIPEG — The 2014 Winnipeg International Jazz Festival finished strong on Sunday, with the sounds of the American electronic rock/pop singer, St. Vincent, and her bandmates.
From the moment Annie Clark, known by her stage name St. Vincent, strutted onto the stage of the Burton Cummings Theatre in a leather mini dress with a massive gold ruffled shoulder piece on one shoulder, and cornrows, it was obvious something quirky, chic, and downright sexy, was about to take place.
Opening for St. Vincent was Digits, a breathy synth pop duo from Toronto. They played a long opening set, with the boyish vocalist, Alt, throwing himself around to the electronic loops of the keyboard his partner was playing.
The theatrics began before St.Vincent even walked on stage, as a digital voice made an announcement saying “please refrain from digitally capturing your experience tonight.”
Beginning with a series of robotic dance moves executed with ballet-like grace, St. Vincent then had a helper lift her electric guitar on to her body, and with tiny little steps she scuttled over to the microphone, opening with the song Rattlesnake, off of her newest self-titled album, St. Vincent.
Barely stopping between songs to say much, when she did talk, it was just as off-kilter as her music — in all the right ways: “We have a few things in common Winnipeg. You were born before the 20th century, your lip curls slightly downward when you laugh, your favourite word is molecular, and when you were small you thought you could make a hot air balloon out of a bed sheet… you were so bummed when you found out about gravity.”
St. Vincent took the performance element of the concert very seriously, with synchronized dance moves with her band mates, dramatic guitar solos facing off against her supporting singer for Regret, and a massive raised platform with stairs centre-stage that she climbed to crank out a couple of songs on (Cheerleader was exceptionally powerful), the whole experience left you captivated. They don’t pick just anyone to induct into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and St. Vincent proved last night to Winnipeg that she is nothing short of a synth-rock goddess.