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AAA Music | 24 June 2024

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Anna Calvi + Sparrow And The Workshop @ HMV Next Big Thing

| On 07, Feb 2011

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London, 4th February

Sparrow And The Workshop is all about music. No room for trends or revival, this Glasgow-based trio gets straight to the point with brilliant timeless music.

At HMV Next Big Thing @ Barfly supporting Anna Calvi, eight songs are enough to make a statement: there is music that goes beyond time and space, and the Workshop is one of its best proofs.

After having supported bands such as Lemonhead and British Sea Power, the Workshop knows how to handle crowds and barfly, even though sold out, doesn’t intimidate the Irish-Welsh-Scot trio.

From the first notes of ‘Against the Grain’ the spooky mixture of Flamenco and hard rock conquers the audience. Jill sounds like an angelic hybrid between Dolly Parton and Hope Sandoval, with ‘Snakes in the Grass’ and ‘Devil song’ that stand out as the best performances of the band.

Music ranges from ‘Crystals Fall’ album to recent EP ‘Olympic hits’, manifesting continuity and consistency. After closure, with ‘I will break you’ and ‘Crystals’ we are left with a bittersweet aftertaste, like Sparrow and the Workshop’s potential has yet to come in all its enthralling power.

Next up is Anna Calvi. When you see for the first time such a hyped as she is,  the risk is to get stuck trapped in prejudice. Too much expectation risks to blur the most objective critique, especially when Anna appears in all her majestic beauty and you begin to consider that is all about form.

These doubts lasted in my mind for exactly ten seconds; then, it’s been only a gothic trance of emotions and passions. From the initial notes of ‘Instrumental’, Anna stands out as an extraordinary talent, with a hypnotising voice and her magic fingers on an electric guitar too big for her as splendid as delicate figure.

No more words’ sees shadows of Jeff Buckley drifting through the electrified atmosphere on stage. First single ‘Blackout’ is passionate and infectious; Daniel Maiden-Wood beats the drums as possessed by ancient spirits, while Mally Harpaz donates with gentle percussions and a harmonium donates some humanity to an otherwise afterworld ambience.

‘I’ll be your man’ and ‘First we kiss’ transport the audience in a Lynch-ian dimension, while ‘Suzanne and I’ and ‘Desire’ remind us how sensuality is not only a matter of tact or smell. Finally, ‘Jezebel’ and ‘Love won’t be leaving’ close a deluge of addictive energy and sensual compulsion. If you were still in doubt now you know, Anna Calvi is definitely the next big thing.

Author: Lorenzo Coretti

Photos: Nadja Cohendy