(YouTube) [Anna Calvi & David Byrne] I first saw Anna Calvi perform at Chicago’s Schuba’s back in 2011. If you haven’t been to Schuba’s, it’s basically a local bar with a bolted-on small stage and a fantastic sound system which, as it turned out, was perfect for Anna Calvi.
If you aren’t familiar with Anna Calvi, she’s a belter with a guitar. If her voice doesn’t bowl you over*, her prowess with her axe will. She’s fond of spaghetti western noodling, but also can craft a damn fine hook. Seeing her in such a small venue with her larger-than-life voice was a revelation, and I was eager to repeat the experience when she was scheduled to return to Chicago on April 2nd, 2020.
You know where this is going.
The show was canceled due to the pandemic, so I did what I’ve done so many nights before and since: watched the video of her cover of Keren Ann’s STRANGE WEATHER. Directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz (who has also directed music videos for Ice Cube, Elle Fanning, and Solange) and featuring Kate Lyn Sheil (SHE DIES TOMORROW, YOU’RE NEXT), the video perfectly captures a specific sort of urban ennui: the surreal hollowness of frustratingly meandering through a city at the dead of night while trying to beat back the voices in your head.
- STRANGE WEATHER isn’t exactly the best showcase of her vocals, as she’s rather restrained here. If you really want to hear her give her all, check out her JEZEBEL video.