Monday, November 7, 2011

Review: Cate Le Bon/ St. Vincent @ Royale (Boston, MA)

A long-haired brunette came on stage, dressed in a black, short-sleeved shirt, black tights. The stage lights accented her high cheekbones, cut softly, feminine yet harsh. A crowd of St. Vincent fans, ranging in their early 20s to 30s, seemed intent on the headliner, whose distinctive angular songcraft and wild rockstar attitude would  woo the crowd already desperate for her. But Le Bon, a relative unknown to the Boston crowd (already they were chatting, perhaps wondering who this woman was; when was Annie Clark's act to come on?) strummed the first few notes on her wood-grained electric guitar, strange, out-of-place notes except for their distinct sense of intention. And when she took the mic (perhaps a soft French accent, more pronounced in her casual speech), the audience had already judged: she was no St. Vincent, could we have the real thing?
And so it would have been, a nervousness behind the woman's singing, an almost alien, art-pop sense of songwriting, had not the wind shifted a few songs in, had she not relaxed after finishing the single she'd been promoting, "Puts Me to Work," and the crowd turned their ear and hushed - briefly - to hear her voice finally soar. "These are hard times to fall in love," she crooned, knocking its truth into the ticket-holders, and they responded, becoming, if only for a few more songs, her congregation. She pushes hair aside.
"I know you don't know who I am," she said. "This is my last song," she tells them, "and I'd appreciate if you could cheer for it." She starts again. "So, this is my last song - " hootings and enthusiasm overtaking her timid voice " - don't cheer for that!" She laughed and introduced her final song, and as quietly as she came left.
(Apologies for the lack of pictures - so we thought we'd try to paint one for all you out there. New album coming out early next year; and if you missed St. Vincent's enchanting performance, well, next time don't.)
-Mgmt.

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