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Pitchfork Music Festival 2014: 10 Most Memorable Sets + Photos

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03. St. Vincent

St. Vincent // Photo by Kris Lenz

St. Vincent’s unbelievably brilliant set on Saturday evening doesn’t deserve a meager 200-word summation. I’ve seen a lot of live music, including St. Vincent on two other occasions, and it ranks as one of the best sets I’ve ever seen. Besides her wonderful songwriting, which hit some sort of idiosyncratic peak with this year’s self-titled album, Annie Clark has become an intoxicating master in the art of performance. During her hour-long set, she spoke all but six words to the crowd, instead letting her guitar, vocals, and stark, dramatic facial and body expressions do the talking. Setlist-wise, the show wasn’t necessarily significant in comparison to prior tour stops. She played most of her new record and a few cuts from Strange Mercy, as well as “Marrow” and “Your Lips Are Red” from Actor and debut album Marry Me, respectively. However, this particular set felt special, the stirring apex for a deeply emotional visionary trying to remind us that all emotion in our wacky internet age may be feigned anyway. And she did it in front of what could be one of her biggest crowds yet. “I care/ But I don’t fucking care,” she screamed on “Digital Witness”, embellishing the latter lyric with a little bit of cathartic foul language underneath the squelch of her guitar. Where does the real sentiment lie in this line, in her shifted voice inflection? Who knows. She never gave us any hints. She just kept on shredding. –Dean Essner

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