Metro Weekly

Watch St. Vincent’s iconic “Austin City Limits” episode on March 27

Queer art-rock performer's performance became an instant hit with fans, leading to this encore broadcast

St. Vincent: Austin City Limits
St. Vincent: Austin City Limits — Photo: Scott Newton

St. Vincent will return to Saturday Night Live as the musical guest on Saturday, April 3, for an episode hosted by Daniel Kaluuya. Six weeks later, the acclaimed, intriguing queer art-rock performer, whose real name is Annie Clark, will release Daddy’s Home, her sixth full-length album.

The 11-track set loosely chronicles Clark’s relationship with her father, released in 2019 after a nine-year stint in prison for stock fraud, and the gritty early 1970s rock and funk tunes they bonded over during Clark’s childhood in Texas.

The slinky, sweaty first single “Pay Your Way In Pain” features a video directed by Bill Benz, who also directed The Nowhere Inn, a mockumentary about St. Vincent co-written by and co-starring Portlandia co-creator and fellow queer rocker Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney). A hit at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, The Nowhere Inn is planned for a fall release from IFC Films.

But before all that, and especially if you could use a refresher course on St. Vincent, your best bet is to tune into PBS this weekend, when Austin City Limits presents an encore screening of a performance that originally aired in October of 2018.

The episode quickly became one of the live music show’s most-requested, and it’s easy to understand why: The imminently captivating Clark shows her visual as well as sonic prowess, dressed in the same red vinyl bodysuit and matching fierce thigh-high stiletto boots she memorably wore during a 2017 concert at a then-newly opened Anthem.

The dazzling, light-intensive production features a three-piece band supporting Clark — the two male musicians on drums and keys/electronics are rendered as faceless mannequins — performing a 13-song career-spanning set with an emphasis on MASSEDUCTION, including renditions of the moving “New York,” the thundering Grammy-winning title track, the defiant anthem “Fear The Future,” and the ballad “Slow Disco.” The setlist also includes St. Vincent signatures including “Cruel,” “Cheerleader,” and “Digital Witness.”

“Originality is one of the most important criteria for choosing artists for ACL, and St. Vincent is one of the most original artists I’ve ever come across,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “She pushes the envelope musically, so we decided to push the envelope ourselves with one of the most unique Austin City Limits episodes you’ll ever see.”

St. Vincent’s Austin City Limits episode airs on Saturday, March 27, at 11 p.m. Regular streaming available after broadcast. Visit www.pbs.org/austincitylimits.

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