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Posted on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 9:02 a.m.

David Byrne and St. Vincent a great musical match at the Michigan Theater

By Jennifer Eberbach

What did you think of the show? Leave a comment and / or vote in the poll at the end of this post:

David Byrne and St. Vincent brought their musical collaboration to a packed house at the Michigan Theater on Monday.

Backed by a booming brass band of reverberating horns, the pop-art-rock-new-wave legend and his successful-in-her-own-right protegee concocted quite a spectacle.

In part, the show featured songs that Byrne and St. Vincent recorded together for their 2012 album "Love This Giant," which they subsequently re-imagined on their EP "Brass Tactics." Fans of Byrne's iconic late 20th-century band Talking Heads and his solo career got to hear some of the hits. And fans of the 21st-century indie rock singer had some St. Vincent songs to enjoy as well.

Byrne delivered his signature moves, exaggerated pedestrian gestures that are common-place enough to feel familiar but odd enough to be delightfully weird. He belted out his distinctive voice, at times, and provided balanced backup for St. Vincent when her singing and bass playing was at the center of attention. All the while, the brass blared and morphed into a noisy, lovely backdrop for the two leads to play around in.

St. Vincent found her own groove within the show's artful choreography. At the Michigan Theater, her quick, shaky shuffle became a motif. At times, she reminded me of a ballerina in a music box. It fit well with Byrne's somewhat style—a mannequin-come-to-life, it's been said. The brass section also participated in the choreography by marching, lining up, changing around all the time. It was definitely theatrical and visual.

Songs born from their collaboration included the opener, "Who," along with "Ice Age," "I Am an Ape," "The Forest Awakes," "I Should Watch TV," "Lightning," and "Outside of Space & Time."

They also revamped classics from Byrne's days as the front man of the Talking Heads, including "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" and "Wild Wild Life," and encore performances of "Burning Down the House" and "Road to Nowhere."

There were also examples from Byrne's solo career, including a rendition of "Like Humans Do," "Strange Overtones," and "Lazy."

St. Vincent songs were also highlighted throughout the set, including her popular song "Marrow," and performances of "Save Me From What I Want," "Cheerleader," and "The Party."

Some Michigan Theater audience members shared their opinions after the show.

Andy Balwimski, from Berkley, is a "big Talking Heads fan" who regrets never getting a chance to see them. Seeing Byrne perform live helped fill the void. He thought St. Vincent was a good musical fit for him.

"It's almost like he's mentoring and reaching out to other musicians now, late in his career. It's neat to see him spreading it," Balwimski said after the show. "I really enjoyed St. Vincent. She's got a great voice and a unique style. It's really avant-garde, and with the horns it was interesting to see. I think it all married together really well."

Lindsey Taylor, from Haslett, "really liked the artistic direction and the energy," she said.

"They are really compatible on stage, and they really fed off the audience. David is such a legend and she is a legend of our age. I'm really glad those two hooked up. You could tell their hard work really pays off. They were all smiles at the end."


Anonymous Commentor

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 7:18 p.m.

St. Vincent played a guitar, not a bass.

Jenn McKee

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

So unusual to see a sousaphone on stage as part of a rock concert! As a longtime marching band musician, I approve. Looks (and sounds) like a fun night of music...