You hear the words Down and Out Downtown with St Vincent and how can you say no?! Yes, it might be live streamed (thankfully for us two nights running) and yes, it might be seemingly 2D but Annie Clark (AKA St Vincent) has really tried to create something of an event with an ‘intimate’ afterparty section to the gig as well as a stunning performance with her Down and Out Downtown band. It’s rather marvellous to witness.
Annie made her recorded debut as St. Vincent in 2007 with Marry Me, quickly becoming regarded as one of the most innovative and fascinating presences in modern music. Each of St. Vincent’s subsequent albums has met with critical acclaim and commercial success eclipsing that of its predecessor. Most recently, St. Vincent channelled the hungover glamor and gritty sepia-toned soundtrack of 1970s downtown NYC into the triumphant Daddy’s Home, which was released in May 2021. And as expected the live streamed gig was attended by a vast international audience eager to see her at her best.
Firstly, the show, Down And Out Downtown, showcased live premieres of several new tracks from St. Vincent’s acclaimed new album Daddy’s Home in addition to new arrangements of hits and deep cuts from her illustrious catalogue—all performed alongside her top shelf Down And Out Downtown Band, which comprised of Justin Meldal-Johnsen (bass), Jason Falkner (guitar), Rachel Eckroth (keys), Mark Guiliana (drums), and backing vocalists Nayanna Holley, Sy Smith and Neka Hamilton.
Directed by Bill Benz (Portlandia), who also directed the forthcoming film The Nowhere Inn co-written by and starring St. Vincent, Down And Out Downtown is a sepia toned tour de force of gritty grooves, hungover retro glamour and spellbinding musicality. From rocking full band funky tracks to delicate acoustic interludes, Down And Out Downtown brings the 70s-inspired sensibilities of Daddy’s Home to life in a celebration of unforgettable songs and peerless musicians, and makes us all wish we could be there in person, though there is something weirdly nice about detaching ourselves from this world also.
Vibrant but toned down, funky but with a hint of the DIY and seemingly improvised (though I have no doubt that this was choreographed and rehearsed to precision) this Down and Out Downtown gig was a wonderful backdrop to any home for anyone that is not only a St Vincent fan but enjoys this New York 70s style groove and is looking for a simple distraction from their WFH set up.
Finely tuned, Annie Clark does it yet again.