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Ottawa Bluesfest Day Four – St. Vincent

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Ottawa Bluesfest Day Four – St. Vincent

Who: St. Vincent

From: Oklahoma, US

Where: River Stage, RBC Bluesfest, Ottawa

When: Day Four, July 6, 2014

Total Score: 7/10


Style: St. Vincent can be described as art rock. She tends to play with a lot of different, sometimes abrasive sounds.

Crowd: Unfortunately, this crowd was awful. I’ve experienced less elbowing and drunken screaming front row at punk shows. Only a handful of audience members seemed to be actual St. Vincent fans who wanted to dance and enjoy her performance.

Technicalities: Never having seen St. Vincent live before, I quickly realized that she doesn’t play a set; she puts on a full scale, carefully intricate performance. St. Vincent is an incredibly talented musician and watching her shred guitar riffs was insane. She’s quite offbeat and for the most part I really dug that. However, I found her performance to be repetitive and I fell in and out of boredom. She brought everything she had from the very start and was consistent throughout the entire show, but didn’t seem to have much else to add from beginning to end. That being said, the extent to which she structures her body movements and entire show is impressive.


Image: St. Vincent is a “freak”, in her own words. Her stage banter was minimal, but substantial. She told a story for her likeminded “freaks” about trying to build a hot air balloon as a child, that she could fly away in and never come back. She ended the story by saying, “The one thing we all have in common, is that we never ever fucking gave up hope.”

Memorable Moments: St. Vincent was exhibiting her musical ability the entire show, but brought both that and her stage presence to a new level during her track, Surgeon when she launched into an unhinged guitar solo complete with elaborate head banging. It was probably tied in with her rehearsed set, but it felt like she loosened up and slightly strayed from her tight structure for a few seconds.

Overall: St. Vincent knows how to put on an artistic performance while demonstrating her range of musical ability. There were definitely moments where it was a little much to take in, such as the extensive lighting and incredibly loud bass but overall, she killed it and knew it. Going to see St. Vincent perform be prepared for a full-scale production, to be in awe and probably also a little confused.


Written by Brianna Harris

Photos by Mac Dimanlig


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