Monday night and what's a man to do when there is nothing on the telly. If you happen to have a ticket in your hand and money for beer then it was surely time to set sail for King Tuts and take aboard a cargo of musical nourishment from Anna Calvi and Grouplove.
Grouplove first. This band should have advertised themselves as having health giving properties such is the joie de vivre that they exuded. Starting off with the kind of bouncy songs that virtually define festival friendly, this Californian indie band brought sunshine to this no mean city and every one of them – even the hat wearing bass player poised perilously at the edge of the stage – looked like they lived to perform. There was, of course, more to them than just simple songs with "Naked Kids" demonstrating that a wry intelligence underpins their lyrics. If Grouplove were for sale then I would buy them. If they weren't, I would steal them. It's as simple as that.
After a suitably long wait, the main attraction took to the stage. What can you say about Anna Calvi that has not already been said? She has an exquisite voice and, being guitar free herself tonight, has the sense to surround herself with more than capable musicians but, that said, did she deserve the adoring applause she got tonight? I'm just not sure. Maybe it was the rigours of touring or maybe it was the comedown after the hype but there was little in the way of sparkle in her performance leaving me with the impression that I had just experienced a distinctly perfunctory run through her album.
Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin once wrote a song with the line "My ship has sails that are made of silk". Tonight the wind in those sails came from Grouplove.