"Anyone can play guitar" according to one Thom York, but I beg to differ after witnessing the extraordinary complex, dark and intricate guitar work from Anna Calvi.
Tonight’s show from this two time Mercury nominated artist was part of the wider Festival of Voice taking place in a series of venues across Cardiff. Steeped in history, The New Theatre provides the perfect backdrop to Calvi’s visceral and cinematic soundscapes. We were warned that the show would start at 8pm prompt with no support, and true enough Calvi discreetly emerged from the wings a little after 8pm dressed head to toe in black.
Calvi (a women of few words on-stage) didn’t overplay her hand with the inclusion of the Heritage Orchestra choir, which would have been all too easy. Sometimes less is more and more successful than shoehorning them in every song for the sake of it.
They did however when they were on-stage add further drama and texture as their voices filled the theatre. Highlights were difficult to pick out and would be akin to choosing your favourite child, however needs must. The biggest receptions were for some of her heavy hitters 'Suzanne and I' (How this was never a Bond theme is anyones'guess) with the charging 'Desire'.
Some of the songs theatrical in nature found a natural home on the boards of this impressive theatre; however by 9pm Calvi was already saying her goodbye’s to the accompaniment of the vociferous crowd all of which were out of their seats and on their feet. Despite the vocal adoration and a procession of Roses and flowers thrown towards the stage, we didn’t have the pleasure of an encore.
Much like a concept album, tonight’s gig must be taken in the round and as a whole, this is where I found I had lost myself for one glorious hour and allowed myself to be taken on a journey. Sometimes a band or artist can easily outstay their welcome, tonight was all too fleeting which most certainly left us all wanting more!
Apocalyptic, haunting and yet beautiful at the same time. This was an unforgettable performance that will stay with me a long time.
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