Anna Calvi battles arm injury to kick off Emerge NME Radar Tour

Plus Grouplove and Big Deal play on first nights of UK jaunt

Anna Calvi has battled through an arm injury to help kick off the Emerge NME Radar Tour alongside Grouplove and Big Deal.

The acts played at the Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms on Sunday (May 1) then last night at the Bristol Thekla. They are due to continue the gig run tonight at the Nottingham Rescue Rooms

The show last night was a hit despite the singer’s arm injury which, for the second night running, caused Calvi to be aided by a guest guitarist onstage.

Download the Emerge NME Radar Tour EP, featuring all the bands on the bill

Before Calvi‘s headline slot on the converted timber ship venue docked in Bristol boy/girl electric folk duo Big Deal opened the gig. The pair played songs including ‘Swoon’, ‘Homework’ and ‘Chair’, showing off their subtle emotional depths that remind of The xx or The Delgados with a grungy edge that brought to mind The Lemonheads or Yuck.

Grouplove turned in an energetic performance of their Arcade Fire-meets-The Flaming Lips Los Angeles pop, with the band leaping around from the off and backing singer Hannah Cooper donning a mask and hooded cloak for current single ‘Colours’.

Anna Calvi‘s headline set opened with a virtuoso guitar instrumental reminiscent of a classical symphony. Her set veered between sumptuous theatrical pomp, such as ‘Blackout’ and ‘Suzanne And I’, and seditious country darkness with hints of PJ Harvey and The Bad Seeds such as ‘No More Words’ and ‘I’ll Be Your Man’. The set included two reworked covers – Elvis Presley‘s ‘Surrender’ and the encore of Edith Pia‘s ‘Jezebel’.

After the gig Grouplove singer Christian Zucconi hinted at possible tour collaborations. “It’s been going great,” he said. “It’s two days in and we’re warming up. It’s gonna get better and better as the tour goes on. We like touring out of the United States, getting on the road is awesome. We haven’t discussed [any onstage collaborations] yet but we’re all open to stuff. Maybe we’ll jump onstage, it’d be fun to sing with Anna.”

The Emerge NME Radar Tour calls at:

Nottingham Rescue Rooms (3)
York Fibbers (5)
Hull University (6)
Manchester Academy 3 (7)
Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (9)
Liverpool O2 Academy2 (10)
Birmingham O2 Academy2 (11)
Cambridge Junction (14)
Norwich Waterfront (15)
Oxford O2 Academy2 (16)
London KOKO (17)

To check the availability of Emerge NME Radar Tour tickets and get all the latest listings, go to NME.COM/TICKETS now, or call 0871 230 1094.