Anna Calvi headed up night of powerful music at the Olympia, Getintothis’ Lucy McLachlan found a slight lull in the line up.
How many times have you been raring to go for the trek up to the Olympia to find out there has been a venue change to Arts Club or the Academy.
We did wonder when we saw the venues for the 6 Music Festival if these big cats knew what they were in for when booking up massive cavernous venues like Camp and Furnace and the Olympia.
For one it was the line ups. This writer has had the same 7 bands in a Spotify playlist since the beginning of the year and beyond and was over the moon to hear 5 of those were playing this very festival. But was then bewildered at the venue sizes being a tad off.
For example,. we had Queen Zee, The Mysterines, Red Rum Club and Zuzu crammed into the Cavern on Thursday. Four names who have easily each headlined their own shows at much bigger venues in the city.
She Drew The Gun just announced their biggest UK headline tour to date playing the O2 Academy. Plus the last time we saw Bodega around these parts was in Birkenhead Library in the sweatiest heat you can possibly imagine.
And here we are in the gigantic and always cold Olympia. We’re going in for the complete opposite here, still wondering if 6 Music have researched Liverpool’s music venues. To be something special this gig could have been in the Arts Club loft or District. We’re wondering how it’s going to go down.
She Drew The Gun kicked off the night playing to a decent crowd, but not entirely full venue. Being the ‘local’ act personally we were surprised they were on first, but roaring through Resister, Something for the Pain and Wolf and Bird, you wouldn’t think Louisa Roach was resting for tonsillitis just the day before.
The crowd are obviously appreciative and half way through the back there’s a group dancing and singing along. Two songs are introduced as being about the capitalist world we now appear to live in. But Resister Reprise was when Louisa came to life, a personal favourite and almost call to arms to all of my feminist sisters and brothers she’s out from behind the guitar, fists in the air, it’s inspiring to watch.
There followed what seemed like a long wait, which apparently was down to both this show and the one over at Mountford Hall being recorded live for radio, so we’re having to wait for one set to be over at the university before starting an Olympia set. Bodega are up next,
Bursting full of energy the whole band are bouncing and pounding away. It feels like the majority of their debut album was played from Jack In Titanic to How Did This Happen, Boxes For The Move to Name Escape, Truth is Not Punishment and Gyrate.
Tonight it was Bodega’s turn to be censored, as I Am Not A Cinephile gets replaced with ‘mother lover’
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Bodega’s set seemed to really captivate the audience with constant dancing and energy on stage.
And then we had a long wait for Marika Hackman and the energy seemed to disappear… At this point we’re wondering if the line up should have been the other way around?
Marika Hackman announces that they hadn’t played in a while. Yet they were preceding two bands who are slogging it on the gig circuit. After the anti Capitalist party She Drew The Gun and Bodega brought to the night, Marika Hackman seemed quite boring in comparison.
Bodega have lyrics talking of capitalism and every day life, living in a corporate struggle and play quite often around the North West. They got the audience involved and interested. She Drew The Gun are obviously known in Merseyside, have politically charged lyrics, also talking a lot about capitalism.
Marika Hackman, seemed a little generic and bland in comparison. Don’t get us wrong, the music was lovely, daydreamy and at times brooding and shoegazey. It just felt like perhaps they were on the wrong line up. People around us are heard muttering the words middle class…we’re wondering what exactly Marika Hackman is bringing to tonight’s show.
We understand it’s a festival which is not necessarily curated towards all the acts being similar but…
We’re more interested in the half eaten cake left on the TV camera infront of us.
After another long wait, the stage fills with smoke and strobe lights are being tested. The crowd mutters that there were no signs to warn of strobe lighting around the venue. We’re still wondering if the night is going to pick up after Bodega, they seemed to bring a party atmosphere that disappeared straight after they left the stage.
However Anna Calvi steps onstage and wow, huge huge vocals and a massive voice both operatic and cinematic.
Her guitar skills are immense. Powerful and chilling. Brooding and enough to make your hairs stand on end. It’s a huge sound for one woman and it fills the whole venue, you can see why she was nominated twice for the Mercury Music Prize.
@annacalvi I have just seen an instrument totally owned what a gig!! Amazed at what I’ve just witnessed 🎸🎸
— ian r. abraham (@scrash) March 29, 2019
The light show is incredible, way too much smoke and spotlights all focused on Anna Calvi herself. She absolutely owned the Olympia, her vocals and guitar sound filled the entire cavernous room, right to the top, not getting lost in the space once.
When we were worried about the evening getting lost, this certainly picked it back up and pushed it right back into your face. It was one of those performances that stopped you dead on your feet and made you watch. The howl and wail of one guitar was incredibly epic to watch and left you waiting to hear what came next.
When we were worried about the venue choice and the lull in the middle of the set, Anna Calvi changed it all. Pretty powerful stuff, well played 6 Music, well played.
Images by Getintothis’ Lucy McLachlan