Artist Spotlight #3: St. Vincent

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In the year of our Lord 2012, while trying to discover new music by looking over the Coachella artist line up, I came across a name. St. Vincent aka Annie Clark. A local girl who was born in Oklahoma and got to the DFW as soon as she could. Working as a roadie for her aunt and uncle, Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart, she learned how to play guitar from her Unkie Tuck. Attending Lake Highlands High school she was in Jazz band and the went on to college at Berkeley College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. While at college she made a few records, studied with a professor of guitar and further honed her skills. Annie later dropped out after 3 years saying "I think that with the music school and art school, or school in any form, there has to be some system of grading and measurement. The things they can teach you are quantifiable. While all that is good and has its place, at some point you have to learn all you can and then forget everything that you learned in order to actually start making music." She later joined The Polyphonic Spree where worked with Glenn Branca's 100 guitar orchestra. She was also briefly in a noise-rock band called The Skull Fuckers. After Clark left The Polyphonic Spree she joined Sufjan Stevens' touring band for a time. 

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In 2006, having gained all the experience needed, Clark began recording a studio album, under the stage name St. Vincent. In an interview on The Colbert Report, she said that she "took [her] moniker from a Nick Cave song", which refers to the hospital in which Dylan Thomas died. The reference is to the line "And Dylan Thomas died drunk in St. Vincent's hospital" from the song "There She Goes my Beautiful World" on the album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. The name is also a reference to her great-grandmother, whose middle name was St. Vincent. Her second album is where it all started for me. On the 7th track of her second album Actor, a song called Marrow changed my life forever. The angelic voices and melody interrupted by the sour guitar notes and perfectly accompanied by her asking for H E L P and by the end of it all I was the one who was pleading for help. I NEEDED more. I was hungry for more. Enraptured by her sound and presence. I drank at the altar of the Saint Vincent. Addicted to the way she would anoint her guitar with the chaotic strumming and schism. Fast forward to 2014 the release of her 4th solo album I'm foaming at the mouth ready to pre-order her album and buy tickets to her show. I was taken back to it all, the harmonic dissonance in all its glory. Four days before my birthday on the 14th of March, I got see her in all her Saintly glory, albeit in the last row standing room only at the House of Blues. At that point, she had just come off of a tour with David Byrne of Talking Heads fame and you could see the influence in the best way. Annie was a performer and a good one at that. Her choppy footwork and erratic dancing only complemented her style and grace. Sated but not satisfied I left hoping that one day I'd be able to see her again.

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November 2017 the Saint announces her return to the DFW for the Fear the Future tour promoting her 5th solo album Masseduction. Clamoring for another shot to see her again I couldn't pass up the opportunity. This time things would be different it was at Dallas's Bomb Factory, a large venue located in the heart of Deep Ellum. As I sit in the living room of my girlfriend's house on the ILOVESTVINCENT.com website I see it, the game changer 3 letters that are more valuable than gold, VIP. I jumped out of my seat for 2 reasons the price and the excitement. The Miss and I mulled it over and decided to do it, we were going! I questioned myself later thinking we spent too much but I would find out three months later that it was worth every red cent.

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February 24, 2018 and the it was time to see if it would all be worth it. The venue opened it's doors for V.I.P at 5:15 and the line was building. I had all six of her records in hand, nauseous with the thought I may not be able to ask her to sign my records. As we wait in line we overhear the hipsters brag about the number of shows they had gone to see on her tour. With the thought of rejection on my mind I ask the bragging partition, "Hey man you know if she was signing anything?" He replied, "No. She isn't signing anything." My heart sank maybe it wouldn't be the V.I.P experience I wanted after all. While in line I saw someone who put it all into perspective, Annie's family. Specifically her sister. The angular face and light complexion was a dead give away. I was reminded she was home, and little did I realize she had her aunt and uncle opening for her. So into the venue we go. She played 2 songs and she goes on to the Q and A. I am wrought with contemplation should I ask? Is this in bad taste?  I think to myself it's now or never... I raise my hand and clear my throat "I want to start off by saying what a huge fan I am and want to thank you for doing all of this, Over the years I have become a collector of vinyl and most especially yours. I would be completely remiss if I didn't ask you to sign my records please." Then without a moment of hesitation she responds with the most pleasant "Yes". Stunned, I fell my heart leap for joy! All my fears washed away.

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As I anxiously waited for her to sign my stuff My wonderful girlfriend found us the best balcony seats smack dab in the center. Giddy as school children we celebrated with shots! The openers were awesome and rich with stories of the early days before Annie being canonized. The show that proceeded, rocked me to my core I wept, I sang and I danced. She played all I could want and more for an hour plus solo. By the end of it all I needed a face-lift and a new pair of socks. All in all I was over the moon. I'll finish by saying if you have the chance to go V.I.P and you can afford it do it. It could be the little light that shines in your memories and no one can take that away.

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Posted on February 27, 2018 and filed under Artist Spotlight.