By Aaron Franco
Given the number of collaborators David Byrne has had over the years, it's hard to imagine what it must be like to share the stage with the man, knowing once tour is over, the open arms of Brian Eno, Fatboy Slim and dozens of other past co-conspirators are waiting for his return.
On 2010's Here Lies Love alone, the former Talking Head worked with more than a dozen artists, one of whom happened to be Annie Clark, who records and performs as St. Vincent. According to Clark, the two met in 2009 after being approached to write new music for a charity event. In her words, "We decided to center the music around a brass band and began sending ideas back and forth in every form: wordless melodies, melody-less songs. After a while we had enough of a body of work that David, not one to do anything halfway, suggested we record it and put it out."
That body of work became Love This Giant, a brassy, stripped-down affair that plays to the strengths of both artists, without getting overtaken by either one. The album is getting good reviews, but it's the live show spawned in its wake that's earning unrestrained praise. Apparently, performing in front of a six-piece brass band is exactly the fuel Byrne needs to reignite his Stop Making Sense-era showmanship and take it to strange new levels. As one Huffington Post contributor put it, "If you can possibly see this concert, you must."
For her part, Clark's background as a Polyphonic Spree congregant translates perfectly into the Byrne school of musical theater. As a solo performer, she's just as likely to break into a convulsive fit of guitar slaying as to stand porcelain-still, glued to her microphone and pedals. It's a range that serves her well on stage with Byrne, who seems pleased with the chance to play backup singer. The setlist looks to include several cuts from both artists' solo works, including Byrne's Look into the Eyeball and last year's excellent Strange Mercy, from St. Vincent.
Oh, and ignore any coyness from Byrne about playing "a bunch of songs that we suspect people will know." They definitely break out "Burning Down the House."