On a cold and windy Tuesday night, Clash retreats to a Soho basement for some musical warmth in the shape of former Next Wave interviewee Annie Eve. Her fine debut album, ‘Sunday ‘91’, came out in August, and halfway through a short UK tour Annie and her brilliant backing band are a tighter and more relaxed beast than the one seen at Glastonbury earlier this year.
Album opener ‘Animal’ starts tonight’s set, the drumming a real standout. Despite the dreamy melancholia weaved by the on-stage quintet, there’s also a dash of dry swagger, a touch of good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. The bittersweet ‘Bodyweight’ transfixes all in the room, its hypnotic beat and choked-up vocals demanding attention. An attendee beside us is heard to whisper: “It’s all rather siren-esque.”
Mythological references aside, props most go to Eve, who elevates her material above thousands of other bedroom poets into something that can enchant a much larger crowd. Marking the anniversary of his death (in October 2003), a cover of Elliott Smith’s ‘Angeles’ proves an unexpected treat, Eve happy to reveal her influences and idols.
‘Elvis’, from Eve’s first EP, brings things back to basics, its tale of a damaged relationship invoking a classic country tone and encouraging a few to hit the bar to drown their own memories. A switch to a Fender Jaguar is made for ‘Ropes’, the standout track of the night, talk of skin, sweat and lost words building to a brilliant angry finish.
BBC 6 Music-supported number ‘Basement’ predictably receives the biggest reaction, some brilliant slide guitar work and backing vocals helping to encapsulate what makes this band special. A cheering crowd coaxes one more song from the Eve and her group, an impassioned ‘Kid Meets World’ – a perfect track to send a happy crowd off into the night.
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Words: Sam Walker-Smart