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The Anchoress live review - Bush Hall, London

Live Review

Venue: Bush Hall, London

Catherine Anne Davis gives a rare, stripped-down live performance of her Anchoress debut.

“Tell you, I’m not fucking doing this again,” mumbles a morose Catherine Anne Davies, aka The Anchoress, after the first couple of numbers. As a one-off, she’s playing her acclaimed recent art rock debut Confessions Of A Romance Novelist in full, in sequence. Sound issues have bothered the beginning. Thankfully she shakes off the grumpiness with her wedding dress, and the mesmerising music finds its stride. Like all the best books, as characters and storylines develop, it gradually becomes unputdownable – her show is rich with theatricality.

Prior to this, Fiona Brice has made much from minimalism, looping and tracking her violin lines until they attain a state of euphoric melancholy. As violinist and/or string arranger for everyone from John Grant to Placebo and Anna Calvi, she has ‘classed-up’ dozens of other people’s albums.

Her own Bella Union debut Postcards From is a quiet revelation, offering the kind of rewarding repetitions and subtle cinematic flurries that suggest an inevitable career in film-scoring. Tonight’s understated intensity evokes Michael Nyman and Philip Glass, and probes deep into the collective psyche.

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