St Vincent's unique style and amazing vocals made for a great showTakahiro Kyono

The term ‘icon’ is so often flung around in the music industry today that it has almost lost its meaning. To say, however, that Oklahoma-born St. Vincent is anything less than iconic would not do her justice. Only a true icon would be able to get away with using a different fluorescent guitar for every song in a set, after all.

St. Vincent’s gig at Cambridge’s Corn Exchange on 29th August was really an assault on the senses. Panels of neon flashing lights framed not only the singer herself, but also her pianist, bassist and drummer, two of whom were clad in nude, Yeezy-esque balaclavas. With the first riff of MASSEDUCTION, the title track from St. Vincent’s latest album, the lighting panels flashed frantically, combining with futuristic vocals and flawless electropop guitar to create an almost apocalyptic atmosphere that built to a frenzy during the chorus. Other songs from the album were performed with similar drama, heightened by St. Vincent’s unmissable get-up: neon orange thigh-high boots paired with (what seemed like) a nude vinyl catsuit.

Only a true icon would be able to get away with using a different fluorescent guitar for every song in a set

Since breaking away from Sufjan Stevens’ band to start a solo career in 2006, St. Vincent (real name Anne Erin Clark), has attracted attention for the eclectic style of her music, which ranges from rock to electropop to heartfelt acoustic ballads. Her versatility was certainly showcased during this concert, with the audience being treated to the pop banger Los Ageless, as well as being serenaded with the moving Happy Birthday, Johnny, among others. In every song, St. Vincent’s voice was faultless, and her guitar solos hypnotising.

What makes St. Vincent so captivating, however, is not her flashy outfits, nor her otherworldly falsetto. It is, rather, her complete and utter 'owning' of the stage. There is something unbelievably empowering about watching a female artist shred a solo on a neon pink guitar while wearing thigh-high stiletto boots and singing “I don’t turn off what turns me on.” It is not difficult to understand why St. Vincent won the Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 2015, and why she was the first female solo artist to do so for twenty years. She is proof that ‘girl power’ figures in the music industry do not necessarily have to be Beyoncé-style sass queens, as amazing as they are. A female artist who is simply incredibly good at what she does, owns her own style, and can straddle a guitar and head-bang even better than her male counterparts, can be just as, if not more, influential.

It is not difficult to understand why St. Vincent won the Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 2015

Overall, St. Vincent’s show at the Corn Exchange was an all-encompassing experience, and enough to convert any non-believer into a loyal fan. I highly recommend going to see her live if you’re lucky enough to get the chance.

St. Vincent’s latest album, MASSEDUCTION, is out now

The Corn Exchange, on Wheeler Street, is one of Cambridge’s main live music venues. It plays host to a wide variety of gigs, ranging from current chart artists to classical recitals, tribute acts, music festivals and comedy shows. Check out the Corn Exchange website for upcoming events.

Our pick of Corn Exchange events this Michaelmas:

Tom Odell (22nd October)

Jools Holland (28th October)

Afro Celt Sound System (22nd November)

Love Actually In Concert (12th December)

Sponsored links