Live Review: Anna Calvi @ Lee’s Palace in Toronto Dec 8

annacalvi604Just She and Her Guitar
By: Laura Phillips
December 14, 2011

Mothers, bring your young daughters: the Anna Calvi route is female values wrapped up in a bow. While Thursday’s performance at Lee’s Palace played to a wider demographic of the 19+, the British artist managed to exceed already high hopes with her on-stage aloof and a couple of electrics.

Moving only for her instrument and a few shoulder rolls, Calvi’s elaborate guitar workings were at the forefront of a killer voice. She plays in tangent with a cool sense of detachment, and in the moment it’s like she owns all of our souls.

Calvi presents herself as an artist who revels in the drama of live performance. Fitted in Flamenco-inspired attire– slicked down hair with a flouncy blouse and high-rimmed trousers– it became a viewing under true Lynchian light with interchanging tempos and a constant of heavy rifts. Tipping, at times, into a contorted bout instrumentals, the show’s surrealist quality was steered with an overriding calm.

Her self-titled first album, Anna Calvi, has been nominated, award-winning and hugely praised, yet it’s the live performance that sets the hook. The emotive threshold of “Love Won’t be Leaving” and “Rider In The Sea” revealed new light in a live setting. “First We Kissed” ‘s mid-song intersession was magnified. Guitar front-work was sexier- brasher- in a striking sort of way. Hendrix influences became impossible not to notice.

Anna Calvi proves herself on the brink of big (bigger) things with her stylistic methods. Cucumber-cool and debatably part wizard, she is a performance that will take you through hoops. Not to miss.

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