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Live Review: Anne Calvi, Adalita

5 June 2014 | 10:15 am | Guido Farnell

"An intimate evening in the company of such an astonishingly talented singer-songwriter makes a perfect end to the week."

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Tonight's gig featuring two exciting female artists wielding guitars seems to be this week's answer to those of us still getting over the joy of watching St Vincent shred it up last week. Adalita kicks the evening off in the delightful, wedding-cake interior of Thornbury Theatre. Her guitar meanders with an aimless kind of boredom when she sings Invite Me as reflections on love and life slowly unwind. The heavy grit of her guitar is Adalita's only accompaniment tonight as she deals a sparse set of songs that provides intimate glimpses of insight into her life. Songs like Savage Heart are tinged with angsty sadness and weigh heavily on listeners, but as My Ego is stroked Adalita puts a smile on a few fans' faces. The simple, unadorned beauty of guitar and voice coming together with plenty of emotion has fans swooning as Adalita deals the dreamy Trust Is Rust.

Anna Calvi leaves the bright lights of Sydney's Vivid festival behind to treat Melbourne fans this evening. As Calvi takes to the stage with her band, it seems that she has lost the more severe goth look she sported the last time she was here. Tonight she's looking more like a Hollywood starlet who makes a living playing femme fatales in noir thrillers. The evocative Suzanne & I gently breaks the ice as Calvi and her band effortlessly conjure dreamy vibes. Similarly, Sing To Me draws much inspiration from idyllic Morricone soundtrack moments in much the same way that Goldfrapp did when she ascended Felt Mountain. Few could deny that Calvi's vocals are simply beautiful, especially when she comes on strong and powerful and shifts gear to treat us to a more full-throated howl on tunes such as Love Of My Life. In her more ferocious moments, Calvi's fingers fly over the frets as she indulges in some wild riffing action that showcases her wondrous, virtuous technique. As the show progresses, the instrumental breaks become increasingly exhilarating and give the modest PA at Thornbury Theatre a solid workout. A sultry cover of Bruce Springsteen's Fire reveals a ferocious desire that takes Calvi's fans by surprise. The night comes down with Calvi's dramatic take on Wayne Shanklin's Jezebel. Calvi miles shyly and acknowledges us as she departs the stage. An intimate evening in the company of such an astonishingly talented singer-songwriter makes a perfect end to the week.