When the Saint goes marching in...



Not a dull month for Tipitina's in the least. After last night's breathless Phoenix-led introduction to a month of solid lineups from worthy national acts, Saturday brings a dose of heady pop from two of indie rock's finest handlers: Andrew Bird and St. Vincent.

There's been much ado about Mr. Bird this year — he's carrying a wirldwind tour in support of an acclaimed album. This will be his stop No. 3 in New Orleans this year; gigs at House of Blues and Preservation Hall preceded his duty as the Tip's headliner.

And then there's the opening act. Following a stint in the polymembered, polyinstrumental, polygenre Polyphonic Spree and touring alongside maestro Sufjan Stevens, Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) set out on her own, diving into a blisspopping, harmonious melange of finely tuned orchestral pop and her carcrashing guitars. This year's Actor (4AD) features Clark's airy, rosy-cheeked vocal power above sleek grooves with a French twee twist — the sort of beauty one would expect to come from an expertly executed exercise in soundtracking. Clark rented dozens of films and drafted imaginary scores while in self-imposed Brooklyn exile (cue the saxophone squawk-a-long in "Actor Out of Work"). The cinematic (crescendo-fied strings, bells and whistles) plays comfortably beside the pop sensibilities Clark perfected under the Spree and Stevens influence — that's not to say the album's just an easy-to-swallow throwaway. Instrumental dirges interrupt lilting drama ("The Bed"); down-tempo blue-eyed soul fades to a heavy-eyed opera ("The Party"); desperate-if-angelic pleas sing throughout ("Save Me From What I Want"); and then there's the guitar. Actor is heavy, sometimes sad, sometimes provacative — all under a veil of a sweeping, electrified Disney score (that, at some point in the film future, could very well be).
The show starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $22.

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