Anna Calvi made her Los Angeles debut Tuesday night at The Troubador, the last leg on her first North American jaunt. With only a single and January's LP behind her, set list wasn't really the question, just order of songs.
Drama was the operative word here, with Mally Harpaz, (percussion, harmonium, guitar), and Daniel Maiden-Wood (drums), filling out the trio. They essayed the twists and turns of the tunes, bringing to life a sound that seems to tap equally from the blues and Morricone...Like early Kills, it's a soundtrack for films yet to be made, and in it's finest moments, out there in David Lynch territory.
The sound was lush and loud, and from the opening instrumental of
"Rider To The Sea", Anna Calvi was in command, half visible in the dark shadows of the stage as light slowly leaked out, illuminating the proceedings. Straight into "No More Words", where she showed a great command of dynamics, dropping to a whisper and forcing the crowd to quiet. You could feel people leaning forward, engaged. Without pause, she let rip "Suzanne & I", scaling back up the heights of volume, concluding the opening trio of songs with admirable poise.
While "Desire" got the most crowd response, high point of the set was a sassy, controlled take on the Elvis chestnut, "Surrender", with a close second being a showstopping take on the first single, Edith Piaf's "Jezebel".
All in all, a night to remember, and a nice conclusion to a trip in which Ms. Calvi made some waves. Originally scheduled to debut in March at SXSW, an unfortunate arm injury caused her to delay the U.S. journey.
Before her departure, time was found for a pop-in to the Morning Becomes Eclectic show on KCRW, who sponsored the Troubador show...Catch up here with a live in studio take on "Desire", and don't forget KCRW at pledge time!