NME Radar Tour Feat Anna Calvi – O2 Academy Oxford 16th May 2011

The last week has flown by, so I’ve got a bit of catching up to do!

Last Monday the NME Radar Tour hit Oxford. I bought a ticket on a bit of a whim – a friend had been to the Glasgow date and was completely raving about Anna Calvi so I thought it would be worth a look. The supports did not get the evening off to a good start. First up were ‘The History of Apple Pie’ – who not only had a terrible, terrible name, but seems to be determined to revive shoegazing. It wasn’t much cop the first time round (MBV and Ride aside) so they were on a bit of a hiding to nothing. After that were Grouplove who were rather cheesy Americana – reminded me of Counting Crows or some other such forgettable country-tinged rock-pop.

I texted my mate bemoaning the qualitity of the supports and he assured me it would all be worth it and was it ever! Anna Calvi is an incredible vocalist, she brought to mind a combination of Alison Goldfrapp and Siouxsie Sioux performing a David Lynch soundtrack. Absolutely spellbinding! Highlights of the set were, of course, the single Blackout and her exhilerating version of Piaf’s Jezebel. Given that Piaf is to female singers what Brel is to male it was unsurprising that both Marc Almond and Siouxsie’s The Creatures sprang to mind. Anna Calvi is definitely one to watch – she might not set the mainstream of Radios 1 and 2 alight, but I can see her filling venues like the Royal Albert Hall and holding the entire audience in the palm of her hand. Amazing stuff…

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