Beat Review: David Byrne & St. Vincent @ The Greek 10/13/2012

It was a beautiful night yesterday to catch David Byrne and St. Vincent play at The Greek.  The stars were out, the weather cool and pleasant; the smell of pot filled the open air…

I barely made it in.  The show was particularly early, not sure if it’s a Greek thing, 7:30pm stage time got pushed to about 7:50 as traffic was bad coming in from Los Angeles.  No opening band. 

The show began with the opening song “Who” from David Byrne and St. Vincent’s little pop art masterpiece collaboration Love This Giant. The sound quality was top form. The horns sounded beautifully with the deliciously robust sound of the sousaphone being the prevalent instrument of the night.

St. Vincent aka Annie Erin Clark, dominated centre stage just her and her guitar.  David Byrne in his live show style had quirky dance moves that incorporated the six or so guys in the horn section to dance along with him.  One point in the show, during St. Vincent song “Cheerleader” from her album Strange Mercy the choreography had everyone in the backing band, including Byrne himself lying down on the ground.  David Byrne lay on this side looking dead, the horns on their back playing their bits—while lying on the ground; it was quite a sight to see.  David Byrne’s stage choreography, much like his art made no sense, but then again, neither did a Maryland-raised-Scotsman playing funk-punk in the 70s; however, it worked wonderfully.  David Byrne is, simply put, brilliant.

There was some excellent energy between David and Annie.  Some good ad-libbing between sets of songs, and dancing to a Theremin.  There was one bit into the show where David and Annie have a little dueling guitar session.  I only wish it had continued more through the night.  Annie is a great guitar player.  I was waiting for her to really tear into some guitar soloing, but it was only a tease and she would play some really great stuff only to close the song.

As a massive Talking Heads geek, I was pleasantly surprised some Talking Heads tunes were sprinkled into the mix (along with solo St. Vincent material).  Three Talking Heads songs total, starting with Heaven about a third into the show.  Later, an anecdote by St. Vincent of how she first heard the Talking Heads when she was four-years-old: Revenge of the Nerds.  One was to expect “Burning Down the House” to be the follow-up song, but instead it was “Cruel” (also from her own Strange Mercy) followed thereafter, of course, by “Burning Down the House”.

The show ended at a sinfully early for a Saturday night at about 9:30-ish after the wonderful closer “Road To Nowhere”.  As we all ushered out, I was glad to hear how blown away everyone was by the beauty of the show: the choreography, the light show, the sound.  However, the crowd during the concert lagged some energy.  I guess I was expecting more of a sing-along and maybe even some dancing, especially during the Talking Head tunes, but alas, people only stood and cheered politely.  Not much of a rock show, but definitely a well-produced treat for your eyes and ears.

Piera Peruvian

About Piera Peruvian

Piera's life mimics that of Paddington Bear. Born in the deepest darkest Peru, she soon found herself a stowaway, landing in London sometime thereafter. She now resides in Los Angeles where she likes attending gigs, photographing casually, and wondering about the country when time and finances permit. She also enjoys writing short self-bios... in third person of course.
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