Gig Review by Zak Edwards with Photography by Bianca Barrett

Anna Calvi

I admit it, I wasn’t overly excited about the opportunity of venturing out on a cold, wet and dark February evening to see an artist I didn’t particularly care for or know much about. Maybe it’s me getting old. Maybe I’m just grumpy. Both? Luckily I had the splendid Bianca to accompany me, and reviews of Miss Calvi from previous gigs were all pretty complementary. Also, t’was at the Institute – in my opinion Brums top venue in terms of sound and décor – and thus it wasn’t all bad.

Woman's Hour

Woman’s Hour offered support but I’m afraid that’s all they really offered. It’s not that they were bad – I’ve seen a hell of a lot worse – but they just were a little non-descript, the most interesting thing about them being their name. All the songs seemed to blend into one and there was very little to differentiate one from another. Shame as the vocalist was certainly mystifying and had a nice voice, coupled with good stage presence.

Anna Calvi

Anna Calvi made her way to the stage and was immediately beset with technical problems, as massive amounts of feedback entered the venue from one of her cohorts (Glen, the bearded keyboard player being the main culprit) and her vocal volume being nothing more than a whisper. The disruption meant that the singer had to stop, ask the audience where her vocal had gone and then join in the jovialities as someone shouted “it’s behind you”. Classic panto.

Anna Calvi

Lesser, musicians may have crumbled at this sort of inconvenience at the start of a set, but Anna and the guys took this minor adversity very much in their stride and carried on regardless.

Anna Calvi

They then went on to treat the audience to a crescendo of new age music which I can only describe as atmospheric electro, folk, rock (ish!). The gig was like a wave, starting slowly with a trickle but ending the evening with a massive rip tide and a huge gushing foamy thing.

Anna Calvi

Calvi moved seamlessly from electro indie rock to rhumba and back with consummate ease. Understated but oh so powerful ripping up tunes like ‘I’ll be your man’ with howling guitar riffs interspersed with teasing vocal accompanied by an array of weird and wonderful instruments such as the glockenspiel and a curly wurly symbol which delivered a wondrous woooooossshhhhh sound akin to that of a giant bong. But a little different. You get the picture.

Anna Calvi

Other stand out songs included her solo rendition of ‘Fire’, the haunting ‘Desire’ and splendid cover of Frankie Lanie’s country classic ‘Jezebel’.

There’s no escaping it, Anna Calvi certainly is a required taste. Dark, Quirky, electric, sultry, shy, sensual. All adjectives that can describe the songstress. Her guitar (wo)manship is really excellent. She finished off proceedings with the particularly catchy ‘Blackout’ and departed the stage to rapturous applause from the more than appreciative audience.

Anna Calvi

Set List: Suzanne and I / Eliza / Suddenly / Sing to Me / Cry / First we Kiss / Surrender / I’ll be your Man / Love of my Life / Piece by Piece / Carry me Over / Kiss to your Twin / Fire / Desire / Love Won’t be Leaving Encore: Bleed into Me / Blackout / Jezebel

Anna Calvi

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