St. Vincent Osheaga, Montreal QC, August 3

St. Vincent Osheaga, Montreal QC, August 3
Photo: Chris Bubinas
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St. Vincent is a performer like no other. You could, of course, compare her to a slew of musicians, past and present, in order to make sense of how her virtuosic guitar skills could also come from the same body that looks stunning in a flesh-coloured bodysuit and orange boots, but you shouldn't. Yesterday's late afternoon performance proved that St. Vincent is idiosyncratic; a woman who plays by society's rules, but who sees them through the looking glass. The effect is theatrical, danceable and beautifully deranged.
 
Her musicians took to the stage first; her female guitarist/keyboardist dressed in blue hot pants, while the men were dressed in beige jumpsuits, wearing pantyhose over their faces and mushroom cut blonde wigs like something out of A Clockwork Orange. Emerging shortly after and helped by her roadie — who was dressed in a black trench coat, pantyhose, and blonde wig as well — Clark launched into "Sugarboy," off her latest release MASSEDUCTION, playing an orange guitar.
 
Moving into "Los Ageless," and switching to a cream white guitar, the screen behind the band suddenly lit up to reveal Clark in a blue wig, makeup running, moving in slow motion, and, at one point, getting punched in the face by a flowery boxing glove. This was the first of many mini-movies playing in the background throughout the course of the hit-heavy set. While playing "Masseduction," Clark's face sang along, raspberry coloured gloves draped over her face as mushroom clouds burst in the background. At another point, she was dressed as a 1920s clown, eating strawberries.
 
As the songs changed, so did the guitars. Every song saw a new colour; "Pills" was yellow, "Fast Slow Disco" was blue, others were played with grey, black, pink and back to orange. Every song also saw Clark purposefully wiping more lipstick off of her face, an act that made her look like she was slowly losing control as the set progressed.
 
Ending with an a cappella introduction to "New York" that saw Clark replacing her city with "Montreal" — fumbling slightly with the French pronunciation of a street, she announced, in short, that "you're the only motherfuckers in the city who can handle me." And she was probably right.

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