This was St. Vincent, aka Annie Clarke, playing in one of the strangest venues in Dublin. Whelan's can be intimate, the Village has a cold charm, the Sugar Club can be a perpertual first date. Previously a cinema, located at ground level in a 1970s office block. All-seated, strange semi-booths, raked, the original wood strips on the walls.
I first saw her supporting Sufjan
I was almost late. Had hung around town the entire afternoon. Tried to sell Finn's records but no-one wanted to play. Kept Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five for myself. Phil was interested in the RTE Sound Library disc for his brother.
Ate a bar for dinner. Sitting on the tracks. Train. Ran. Went in.
The crowd was polite. Too polite. I wandered around a little, then sat on the ledge beneath the front row of seats. Best view in the room.
Annie and the band came on. Everyone clapped politely. Annie, a violin, a bass, some drums. Cool subdued boys for a band. Good drummer - controlled, good fringe. The Bass and Violin helped with keys, as did Annie. Bass was a nice vintage thunker bass, played a tele too. Drums had a midi device to help with everything. They were a normal number of people, but they produced a unique and functional array of sounds.
Annie played electrics. One was the beautiful old red electric, the other a Gibson that she smashed out at the end of a song*. Sound was weird where I was, but the Sugar Club was so weird it really didn't matter.
The Sugar Club was weird. It was too polite. Wonderfully polite. Cut the air with a knife polite. Every song was played through, then punctuated with politeness. Annie would joke, people would laugh politely. Awkward date. The entire night.
One song finished, but no-one was sure it was over. Silence screaming in the air, Annie told us it was over. Everyone clapped politely.
There were some whistles and a few shouts, but nothing could quench the politeness.
It was a wonderful concert. The strange atmosphere clarified everything. Annie's voice sounded perfect, and her guitar playing was extremely good. Her playing was effortless, but complex. I was very impressed.
The concert ran through. She said goodbye, there was an encore (some Dig a Pony), then she said goodbye again. I stood up and thought about getting a setlist. I wanted someone from the stage to ok it. Reaching down beside pedals for a list seemed rude. Some other guy broke the ice and grabbed one. I pinched the violin list and hit the road.
Went to a party. Phil and Chicago Girl again. Drank Absinthe and Whiskey. Stayed out all night. Hollowed a little more.
*She didn't really smash it - they'd sent her the wrong guitar to smash. It was an SG.