St. Vincent has been praised for her curation of records with both a musical and visual experience that makes her live shows an absolute moment to witness. “Daddy’s Home” sees St. Vincent transform radically into a 70s b-movie actress in a blonde wig a la Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors, clad in a white pantsuit a la David Bowie. The singer (born Annie Clark) brought her tour to Indianapolis’ Egyptian Room at the Old National Centre along with comedian Ali Macofsky.
LA-based comedian Ali Macofsky muses on fairly familiar territory in the comedy sphere with a far more relatable veneer that makes her a compelling storyteller. Loaded with anecdotes about millennial dating in the digital realm, her deadpan delivery makes Macofsky’s set absolutely tight and painfully relatable riff that opened St. Vincent’s show perfectly.
With four records in the rearview, the radical sonic change of “Daddy’s Home” made the challenge of making a tour of both new and old tracks entirely cohesive. Kicking off the show with an extended version of “Digital Witness,” the track was given a funk groove supplied by the Down and Out Downtown Band as the backup singers ushered Annie Clark on stage behind a rotating platform in a very theatrical, Soul Train manner. As a scathing commentary on documenting our modern age, it captured Clark’s message to enjoy the show and live in the moment as she has been fairly open about the live music experience in the past.
The rotating stage and platform becomes a character on the stage in and of itself, starting from a hokey, color blocked city skyline to a giant mirror pointing back at the band. On “Sugarboy” the stage transforms once again into this stellar strobe light display (as a disclaimer outside the venue warned patrons) referencing the neon tinged hypersexuality of the record. On its final rotation for “Melting of the Sun” a sirene rose garden backdrop, fully justifying the pop-up book style tour set travelling with the band.
Clark kept the setlist to fairly high-energy tracks between the more lowkey “Daddy’s Home” songs, from newer hits like “Los Ageless” to older cuts like “Your Lips Are Red.” The only arguable deviation into ballad territory was playing the absolutely devastating song “New York” which hit my former Yankee heart like a ton of bricks. In playing with some arrangements, the band played the “Fast Slow Disco” version of the track that amps up the dance party energy from the “Masseduction” iteration.
As a performer, Clark glares into the soul of the audience with a commanding smize, embodying the character she has developed on stage. In her mockumentary film “The Nowhere Inn” the singer lampoons the idea of her stage persona versus her off-stage life, which ties into her ethos behind “Daddy’s Home” of dealing with her father’s release from prison and the pressure of having her private life thrust into the limelight. Her setlist on stage details how the skits and jokes are delivered within the show, keeping the show tight. Clark relegated her guitars to her own Ernie Ball Signature, playing a theremin and lap steel guitar, and at one point tossing an Ibanez guitar to the ground in a moment of controlled chaos. The theatrical nature of the show ran like a well-oiled machine from the walk-on right to a literal curtain call.
In all honesty, my initial reaction to the record was less than enthused compared to the sound and strength of her previous albums. “Daddy’s Home” seemed like the sum of its parts were minimal when compared to its standout singles. As an album, it seemed more symptomatic of the current trend of Jack Antonoff produced records, playing purely into his knack for nostalgia bait. However, as a live show the album instead fits so well into Clark’s discography with her penchant for funk and soul beneath the indie rock veneer. To see St. Vincent live is something to truly experience, from her virtuosic guitar shredding to her sharp comedic timing, and fabulous stage presence on a dramatic stage, the singer shows that her risks are outweighed by the strength of her artistic talent.
Shep and the Limelites song- Daddy’s Home (Tape)
Actor Out of Work
Birth in Reverse
…At the Holiday Party
Fast Slow Disco
Pay Your Way in Pain
My Baby Wants a Baby
Your Lips Are Red
Live in the Dream
The Melting of the Sun
Down and Out Downtown
Year of the Tiger
Fear the Future
Roy Orbison song- It’s Over (Tape)