By: Derek Jung
This is now my third time seeing the cult jam rap rock trio in the last 3 years. Each time has been in very different environments. The first was a private-ish birthday party at Madison Live! where I commented that the band kept it super fun, but played the hits with such familiarity that they were straddling the line between comfort and staleness. The second was a middle-of-the-road mid-afternoon set at Bunbury Music Festival during which the band fed off the energy of the crowd and an impending thunderstorm to create a memorable set.
This time though, unfortunately, the energy was not present at all. Despite the band playing well past 11 PM, the solid Tuesday night crowd in attendance had dangerously low energy for the vast majority of the show. It was one of the sleepiest crowds that I've ever experienced at the theater. The worst part was when the band went off stage before the encore. The clapping and cheering died almost immediately and didn't start back up again until the band returned to the stage. Why they even came back, I don't know. The crowd certainly didn't deserve it. To add to this, the mediocre sound of 20th Century Theatre struck again. It took a good four songs before you could hear G. Love's vocals through the muddled mess of bass and drums. One of the drummer's toms' mics was even unplugged for a few songs. It was so bad that the drummer, who was getting visibly frustrated, got up in between songs and went side stage to talk with the monitor tech. The sound was magically fixed for the next song. Incredible.
In short, I don't think I'll be catching G. Love again at 20th Century. Wasn't worth the trouble.
By: Derek Jung
In our year-end review post from 2017, we made a promise to our readers that we wouldn't publish a review until we know we got it right. Well, this show is a prime example of something that we had to sit on for a few weeks to fully understand. Why so much thought? Well, this St. Vincent tour is unlike anything we've ever seen from her before, because it's just her. No backing band. No safety net. Just Annie Clark. And that provided new challenges for us, the audience, in being able to digest the artistic risks she took on every song, the details that would otherwise be minutia were instead amplified by her singular presence on stage. It was unlike anything that I've ever seen before, even from a solo artist, and that's what made it so captivating. St. Vincent's new album, MASSEDUCTION, tackles a number of themes, namely depression, anxiety, sexuality, and the fakeness of fame and popular culture - all of which are extremely personal for her. That's why I thought it made sense for her to present these songs in the most personal way possible.
The show itself was separated into two halves. The first half were the hits, as Annie traversed her previous albums in discographical order, playing two or three songs from each. This was the first introduction to what the night was going to be - Annie singing and playing guitar over backing tracks. For those who were expecting a full band, this is about the moment where the panic began. For my part, I thought Annie succeeded much more on the mellow songs like "Marry Me" than she did on songs like "Digital Witness" or "Birth in Reverse", which would benefit more from a full band.
The second half featured MASSEDUCTION in its entirety. I was impressed with "Pills" and "Young Lover" live, especially the fact that she attempted to hit the high note on the latter song (so close). It was also during this second half that Annie Clark transformed into the St. Vincent of popular lore - powerful, ferocious, and commanding the entire stage. It was a one woman show in every regard, an expression of not only her musical prowess but also her keen eye for both visual and performance art. And for that I say that it was well worth the price of admission.
Side note: There are a TON of strobe lights in this show. Enough to give me a mild headache, so beware.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can watch the full show from The Fillmore in Detroit. The first half is linked below.
Actor Out of Work
Birth in Reverse
[MASSEDUCTION in full]
Hang on Me
Happy Birthday, Johnny
Fear the Future
Dancing With a Ghost
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: