(image via Flickr)
St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) was one of the sets that I was most excited to see at the festival, it also happened to be the first one that I caught all weekend. For this festival gig Annie was flying solo, unless you want to count her army of drum machines, looper pedals, effects pedals, guitars, and microphones as people, and she pulled the set off amazingly well. There were some sound issues, her guitar was too low in the mix at times and way too bassy most of the time, but none of the relatively minor sound problems could detract from the visual spectacle that was Annie's one (wo)man band. She started most songs by playing a beat on a drum machine and then looping it, and she just built up from there, flawlessly looping guitar parts, stomping pedals, stomping the stage, and switching between microphones. It was awe inspiring and, in some ways, even outshone Andrew Bird's similar looping madness. The highlight of the set for me was probably the most simple song she played, a killer version of the Beatle's "Dig A Pony" after which she coyly remarked "I wrote that one back in '69" with a slight grin on her face. I wish the sound guy had known how to mix her better, but that really is my only complaint. If you are walking down the street and see St. Vincent on the marquee overhead, turn and march on in, it'll be worth it.