T: 01273 673311
Compelling, composed and jaw-droppingly good, Anna Calvi’s gig at Concorde II on Sunday was outstanding from start to finish. Adorned in her trademark red and black, Calvi knew exactly how to pitch the performance. She walked on in the dark without saying a word, played a stand-out guitar solo then stepped into the light to sing.
Theatrical she may be but it’s not to make up for a lack of musical talent. During the gig Calvi swapped effortlessly between fender and slide guitar (apparently she also plays violin, piano and bass), and her voice is also stop-you-in-your-tracks good. It’s rich and velvety; as commanding soft as at full pelt. At points she made fists as if to channel her voice out, a snarl planted firmly on her face, but at the other end of the spectrum – in those hushed moments – you could’ve heard a pin drop.
London-born Calvi cites Nick Cave, The Velvet Underground and David Lynch as influences, and you see this in the captivating, edgy music she creates, which conquers up glamour and danger in equal measure. Many have made comparisons between Calvi and PJ Harvey, helped in part by the fact that she co-produced her Mercury-nominated self -titled debut with long time Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis, but Calvi is definitely an musician in her own right. Highlight tracks of the evening came via Love Won’t Be Leaving, Calvi lit up by a blue light as she sang, First We Kiss, and a cover of an old Elvis track, Celina. Helping her along the way were regular band mates Mally Harpaz, who does a serious line in harmonium and percussion, and the impressive Daniel Maiden-Wood on drums.
Anna Calvi – Love Won’t Be Leaving
Halloween, Alaska, a Minnesota-based four piece who have an understated, lounge sound, provided support. Anyone attempting to go in full guns blazing would have been hugely over shadowed by Calvi but their lo- fi approach worked well to set the tone.
Calvi returned for an encore, finishing as she’d begun with another assured guitar solo, then a languid beat kicked in and she dived into a sultry reworking of an Edith Piaf song Jezebele (one of Calvi’s only singles to date). Then, utterly composed, she thanked us for coming out and strolled off stage, unaware or unconcerned of the drama she’d just created.