Doesn´t look like but Anna Calvi is almost 30 years old. She´s another musician showing there is no age restrictions when it comes to release your debut album. The reason, as she says, she never came up as the front girl of a band is...shyness.
Well, she now is the front girl of her own project and there´s no shyness at all when she´s holding her Fender Telecaster.
Compared by many, in barely every music magazine, to Brian Eno, Nick Cave, Jimi Hendrix and PJ Harvey she claims her influences come from all of those plus Nina Simone and David Bowie. She has, indeed, something playing on her behalf: she is unique. You won´t find anyone this days doing the music she does and if you find, please, do tell. She is a mix of all the ones mentioned already in a cocktail served shaken, not stirred.
After album promotion, a few concerts, tv appearances and a presence in many Summer festivals she is now on her first proper tour that will basically be all around Europe and also US and Canada. Not bad for a first album. A Mercury Prize Nominee album. Not bad indeed.
It´s easy to describe the audience that will receive her during this tour. They are all on their 30s - minus 10 plus 10 doesn´t make a big difference - which could all be close friends of her and who know exactly who she is and what to expect from her.
You can easily prove that knowledge when one of the singles is played as one of the first songs - which the very first is "Rider To The Sea" - which is "Blackout". Ovations echoed through the room as the first chords are beautifully played and a powerful voice fills the place. Although much, that probably never listen to her besides singing, won´t hide a certain surprise when a sweet-fragile "Thank You" comes out of her mouth at the end of every song as if it was not the same person that just sang her lungs in a flawless, effortless way.
Anna brings two companions to help her. By her left she has an incredibly talented lady who plays [approximately] 101 instruments. I can assure she plays them all, so no show-off-only, but I can almost guarantee you 99% of all the people that will watch her on this tour can correctly name them all. I can give a help and say that one is a triangle. I think.
On the back there´s the drummer. A simple guy...not more than, and I wish I could go for technical terms here, 6 pieces on his drum set. And a microphone for some back vocals. It´s a perfect fit...Anna´s guitar and his drum set.
Drum set in which my personal favourite - "Suzanne and I" - starts with a beautiful beat and goes on with the perfect guitar skills and powerful voice of the lady in charge. As Anna leads us to her album - "First We Kiss"; "Morning Light"; "The Devil" - you get the feeling that, at least live, there´s no weak songs on the recorded version of it. Which is quite right. She takes inspiration from flamenco for her style and also for her music. While to the visuals the connection is quite easy to make when it comes to the music you have to listen a few times to get there. But there´s some of it on a strong contender to "Suzanne and I" for my favourite one which is "I´ll Be Your Man".
Another single, "Desire", and "Love Won´t Be Leaving" (probably the song I would recommend for a first Anna Calvi listen) makes the crowd be sure their money was more than well spent. She comes back for the Encore after being acclaimed by an happy audience and ends the show with an Edith Piaf cover - "Jezebel". A suitable end for a great night where she can for one last time deliver that voice and [superb] guitar skills.
A shy Anna waives goodbye. You walk away commenting on how fantastic her voice is as you listen others say the same. Will always be like this at her concerts I´m afraid. Will be a night well spent.