Following the Museum of Modern Art’s annual fundraiser dinner and a DJ set from the fantastic Sofi Tukker, St. Vincent jump-started the afterparty with an eight-song set inside the venerable New York City museum’s lobby.
While she wore a sheer floral gown (hold your tongue, Miranda Priestly, it looked great) earlier in the evening while walking the grass-covered ‘red’ carpet, Annie Clark changed into a silvery collared dress for the piano-based concert, which found her trading the searing guitars and analog synths of her Fear the Future Tour for a more stripped-down affair that showcased the durability of her compositions and voice. St. Vincent might play in the realms of rock, pop and dance, but her songs have a flexibility that suggests she just as easily could have flourished in the pre-rock era, writing torch songs and cabaret numbers.
Despite her substantial skills on the guitar, St. Vincent stuck to the microphone, with two musicians — one on a keyboard and the other on a proper piano — and a series of stark video projections serving as her backup. The set was solely comprised of Masseduction tracks, and given that her latest LP is one of her best, that seemed to sit just fine with the captivated audience. Opening with “Fear the Future,” Clark moved into “Los Ageless,” which can’t help but feel like a double diss when delivered to a New York crowd.
Prior to “New York” (which obviously had all the phones in the air), she spoke briefly about her personal connection to the MoMa, explaining she would sometimes visit the museum when in need of inspiration: “If I was ever down, I found something [here] that shattered and restored me.”
The most fascinating toned-down version of a Masseduction track was easily “Sugarboy.” Bereft of the studio version’s unhinged rush of synths, her keyboard players easily filled the void with deft ivory tickling as she whisper-growled the chorus. Closing with “Slow Disco” (which would get an official revamped ‘fast’ version the next day), St. Vincent bid the crowd adieu as the uber-stylish twins Simi and Haze Khadra (under the moniker SIMIHAZE) took over as DJs and kept the party going late into the night.