Anna Calvi at Vicar Street, Dublin

Anna Calvi has come a long way since her last Dublin visit, when she played the fine but small Workmans Club. This time she took on Vicar Street, with noticeably more females present than at most gigs.

Support band Halloween, Alaska had a sound which was a whole hodge podge of styles, most notably resembling The Police. Their mellow, slow-burning tunes didn’t quite connect.

Anna Calvi came on stage and immediately kicked into breathtaking opener, the guitar instrumental Rider to the Sea. Her set consisted mainly of material from her debut album and she displayed a firm grasp of dynamics from tension-filled silences (No More Words) to commanding guitar heroine performances (Suzanne and I).

She was ably backed up by her band, two percussionists and an occasional bassist, but in truth, Calvi is the star of the show, cutting a forbidding and confident figure. She played a few cover versions, making a decent fist of Elvis Presley’s Surrender. Her guitar is like an extension of herself, every chord played with depth and feeling, never more so than on Love Won’t Be Leaving, featuring a quite brilliant midsection, with guitar pyrotechnics aplenty.

After a brief encore, she disappeared into the night. If you haven’t succumbed to the delights of Miss Calvi yet, what are you waiting for? She has that rare characteristic, genuine star quality, not a gloss manufactured by X-Factor. Resistance is futile.

Killian Laher

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