In the two years since her last show in Chicago, Annie Clark has worked tirelessly to perfect her stage presence as St. Vincent, which was obvious when she played at the sold-out Riviera Theatre on Saturday. Clark captivated her Chicago fans with some strange and merciful dancing, whether up close with them or on stairlike pillars at the back of the stage. St. Vincent’s fourth, self-titled album made up most of the set, though it was nice to hear old favorites like “Cruel” and “Marrow” (as well as a timely cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium”) worked in to her new material and stage setup.
Clark’s guitar playing could be a band member in and of itself, with its furious intensities filling the entire venue. Her songs are often mysterious and otherworldly, but she used her between-song banter to relate to the audience in more human ways, talking about imaginary friends, riding the El and burning Laffy Taffy wrappers.
Noveller, the project of Sarah Lipstate, opened with a rich, glorious 40-minute set before St. Vincent went on. The Brooklyn guitarist and filmmaker showed her own artistic direction and promise as a powerful performer; she’s definitely worth the early arrival if you catch St. Vincent later in her tour.