Concert Review: Anna Calvi - Melbourne - Tuesday, 18 June 2019

ANNA CALVI | Photo Stephen Boxshall

ANNA CALVI | Photo Stephen Boxshall


By: Darcey Mitchell

Artist: Anna Calvi

Date: Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Venue: Corner Hotel

“Excellence awaits,” promises Olympia, as she steps off the Corner Hotel’s stage, the last night after a brilliant but too short set, and not a truer word has been spoken before.

The Corner was uncomfortably warm, in stark contrast to the blistering cold waiting outside, the heat adding to the anticipation in the air. Calvi had just completed her shows at Dark Mofo, Sydney and Melbourne, finishing up the small Australian tour supporting her 2018 album Hunter, an outstanding achievement in pop-noir, and her first time back since her 2014 tour.

The red lights set the mood and so do the thrumming, pulsating beats that serve as her pre show music. Hunter is less cerebral, far more visceral than her two previous albums and fittingly she comes screaming onto the stage, draped in cardinal red, her guitar screaming.

Calvi has never been one for stopping a show for idle chitchat, so each song streams into the next, her voice cleanly cutting through the haze that’s filled the room. The crowd is completely enraptured as she throws her body around, no talking, only the occasional phone rising, trying to capture the animalistic movements in front of us, frankly a rare sight at any gig in 2019.

At one point Calvi slowly paces the edge of the stage, her finger pointing directly into the crowd as she sings. To catch her eye as she does this is to feel completely undone, uncomfortably seen and singled out – and then she continues to move and you feel almost unmoored in the crowd, watching those around you go through the same split second experience.

Don’t Beat the Girl out of My Boy is a stand out of the night, the audience singing and dancing along with the band on stage and so is Alpha Calvi, throwing her full body into the song before leaving the stage in darkness.

She comes back for just one song, a cover of Suicide’s Ghost Rider, voice barely contained by the confines of the room and the guitar taking another beating from her. The song finishes too quickly and she leaves after gifting an adoring audience member with her slide.

If there was any criticism for this show it would be that at just over an hour fifteen it was too short, but that would almost be greedy of us to suggest – the energy that she puts into each show is extraordinary and certainly exhausting.

Hopefully she returns to our shores before another five years passes.

Set List:

Indies and Paradise
As a Man
Swimming pool
Rider to the Sea
Suzanne and I
I’ll be your man
Don’t beat the Girl out of my Boy
Ghost rider