It’s been some week for the beautiful Miss Calvi. A new album, “One Breath”, that has been unanimously applauded by journalists and the general public alike, the announcement of new tour dates and to top it all a spellbinding performance at the Islington Assembly Hall last night (8th October 2013).
This album release gig was a real show-case for the local artist, and the countless interviews, travelling and other publicity did not show as she produced, as close to, a perfect performance one could hope for.
Interestingly the show brought together two very important ingredients. Anna Calvi was the meat and potatoes, so to speak, and this wonderful venue was the garnish. Run by Islington Council the Islington Assembly Hall has to be one of London’s most beautiful hidden gems. Its Art Deco décor has been unchanged since the 1930’s and its atmosphere feels timeless. Why this beautiful location does not feature higher on the gig circuit is a mystery. Acoustically it betters many of London’s corporate sponsored venues and it simply demands to host artists of this calibre. With its 750 ticket limit it’s the classic intimate venue that so many bands and the ticket buying public often crave for. It even retains the amazing bouncy wooden floor that so many had elegantly moved across, in dance, before its closure in 1980. A more perfect symbiosis could not have been planned for this show.
The real focus was on the new music and it certainly didn’t disappoint. “Eliza” and “Cry” were spine-tinglingly delivered. However, the highlight from “One Breath” was quite easily “Sing to Me”. Its haunting vocals and under-played guitar riff seem 100 times more impressive live than they are on the LP. My jaw was still on the venues floor 20 minutes after the track had finished. It shone brightly in a set that was already alight.
There were also trips back to the self-titled debut album. “Desire” was warmly applauded even before the track started in earnest, a sign that there is already a growing fan-base. “Suzanne and I” allowed the artist to show how wide her vocal spectrum really is, an incredibly powerful song that again leaves you in a state of utter astonishment. Calvi’s clever fretwork and almost playful interaction with her guitar was testament to just how musically accomplished this young lady is. The entire set really was of the highest quality.
If you are in the situation where you can get to one of Anna Calvi’s 2014 shows then don’t hesitate. If what I experienced was the norm then you too will see a musical talent at the top of her game. In the same vain, if you are offered the opportunity to see music at this glorious venue then do so safe in the knowledge you won’t be harassed by a certain mobile phone provider but will experience a sound system to rival some of the best in the UK.