Anamai Central United Church, Calgary AB, June 24

Anamai Central United Church, Calgary AB, June 24
Photo: Steve Louie
First to take the stage at Central United Church was Anamai, a guitar-wielding duo who played mournful tracks inflected with ambient noise and loops. Singer Anna Mayberry led the duo through simple yet heartfelt songs, her bandmate Jude, the mononymous HSY member, creating a sonic landscape with his array of effects pedals.
The focus was on their debut full-length release, 2015's Sallows, but "Black Crow" also featured, a song from their 2013 self-titled EP that hadn't been performed in some time. Mayberry's vocals were sweet and clear, becoming more intense only in the last song, ferocity finally beginning to show in their music. Much of Mayberry's guitar playing was slightly tinged with folk and country, Jude's ambient sounds making for an unlikely but pleasing combination.
The audience at Central United Church absorbed these steady yet unnerving songs, their enthusiasm clear. Anamai don't try to cater to the masses, and in doing so, reach their audience to the core.

[Ed. Note: A previous version of this review named David Psutka as Anna Mayberry's co-member. Exclaim! regrets the error.]