Memorable Night of Indie at Rock and Roll Hotel
St. Vincent w/ Foreign Born
Before the show, Belgian beers down the street
at Granville Moore's. Mmmmm.
Let’s start with the opener. So often people ask what kind of indie music I like and sometimes I cannot put it into words, but I could last night: “That!” The opening act, a Los Angeles-based band called Foreign Born, was exceptional. This quartet of lads had a sound that would make the Brits swoon. The vocalist sounded like Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, the Verve’s Richard Ashcroft, and the Killers’s Brandon Flowers all rolled into one. The drummer, concentrating so hard he looked somewhere between jetlagged and pissed off, hammered out some impressive beats. Just tight, excellent alt-indie rock. They’re touring in support of their first full-length album, On the Wing Now. Check these guys out!
Onto the headliner. Imagine, say, a blending of the Dresden Dolls and Bjork. St. Vincent’s lead gal, Annie Clark, is both stunning and a talented musician and vocalist. Formerly a guitarist for The Polyphonic Spree and a member of Sufjan Stevens’ touring band, this new project lets her shine up front.
Alternating between a regular microphone and occasional crooning into a vintage-sounding distortion mic, Clark created a creative, often jazzy sound. But she never strayed too far from rock and played some mean guitar, especially during her solo song. At this sold out show, (they’ve also sold out the Bowery in New York later this week and will play Coachella in April) all of the instrumentation was solid.
On St. Vincent's first full-length album, Marry Me, released last July, Clark sings and is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, organ, vibes, Moog synth, bass, piano, and bells. At this show, when she introduced their song, “Marry Me,” a few guys in back called out “yes!” which is apparently a common occurrence at their shows.
An excellent night of music.