Anna Calvi – SWX, Bristol

Saturday 6th October, 2018

This gig was incredible. It was intense. I loved it.

From the first moment I heard Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy on BBC6 Music I was hooked. Feminist rock music, oh yes. As a single mother to a son this song really resonates with me. I’d bought a ticket to this gig off the strength of that one track and the more I heard the gladder I was that I had. I got the album it’s from, Hunter, and loved every track on that too.

Come the night. I’m feeling pretty low. Lots happening all at once for me right now. I was not in the mood for going out. Alone. Dealing with people, lights, noise. No. Maybe I’ll skip this one I thought.

SWX is an odd venue, but I like it. When I got inside there was a catwalk extending out into the crowd. Hmmmmm. No space at the front, but one little Emma sized spot right at the end of the catwalk. There was no support act as such, unseen DJ’s span tunes instead. I felt a little uncomfortable with this, no support act to focus on meant an hours wait and dealing with all the chatter around me. Luckily, the Anna uber fan who was stood next to me, Tanya was friendly and talking with her really helped. As did being in a crowd of many more women than usual, it really does make a difference.

Right on time, out came Anna. Smouldering Anna. Red lips, boots and leather crop top. She plays the best rock guitar I’ve heard. Her voice is amazing.  She is one heck of a performer too. She spoke barely a word, she didn’t need to, the songs did all the talking. She prowled the stage, hunting for her prey and when she found it she played and toyed with the boys and she was always the winner. She was aggressive, snarling and damn sexy. I want to be Anna Calvi when I grow up. She is everything I wanted to be but never had the courage or talent to become.

Anna strutted down the catwalk with all the confidence and charisma of a rock goddess, making intense eye contact. She made me feel as if she was singing just to me. It was very, very cool. Swimming Pool was one of the best tracks, I had to close my eyes and felt my body floating away. That gentler track was followed by Chain, which I also loved. Oh and Alpha. Well. Let’s just say that did things to me.

The lighting was superb, dramatic and moody, enhancing the music. It was so good to see a performer taking lighting seriously. Anna really is the whole package.

“Thank you very much, goodnight” wait, how, no way, we can’t be at the end, this has gone by far too fast. Of course there was an encore, but the whole gig felt like it only lasted 20 minutes, not 90 and that is a sign of a high quality gig.

I hung about with Tanya and her friends for a little while, I didn’t feel like I wanted to leave the world of this gig. Anna graciously came out to say hello and I was shocked to discover she is as tiny as I, we even have the same ridiculously small feet! Anna if you ever want to swap shoes……..

This was an intense gig, an incredible gig and I am just a little bit in love with Anna Calvi as a result.

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