Amongst the new wave of British indie bands, Calva Louise offer something a bit heavier, a bit heftier and a lot louder.
It’s cool to be coy these days. Up and down the country are mumbling singers, introverted indie kids, bands who will avoid energy or interaction at all costs. Calva Louise, however, aim all their energy frontwards. When frontwoman Jess Allanic isn’t screaming in the choruses and bridges, her guitar is.
This isn’t clumsy noise thrown by the bucketload at the audience though. Amidst the thrashing pop-punk power chords and big, beefy riffs are a couple of swirling, reverb-laden verses that pull the band back into the indie territory of Cage the Elephant and former touring mates Spring King.
Songs like “Tug of War” and “I Heard a Cry”, while still loud, show a certain focus and craft; something equalled by the production of the set on the night.
The band have an air of juvenility about them; something that makes it easy to picture a stroppy teenager secluding themselves in their room and listening to the band’s debut album, Rhinoceros in its entirety.
Everything that goes along with that juvenility is welcome – the playfulness, the anger, the energy. They are mischievous teenage moshers at heart – rolling their eyes at the normals, trying to smash the system (whatever system that is) and guarding themselves with a wall of music.
Allanic is the embodiment of this, staring with wild eyes whenever she wasn’t headbanging and having her own moshpit of one. It was undeniably sweet to see how polite and pleasant she was between songs – beaming with genuine surprise and happiness at the crowd’s reciprocation of her brilliantly manic energy.
“Belicoso”, the furious and unsurprisingly bellicose thunderstorm of a track inspired the biggest moshpit of the night, something that the band predicted. Drummer, Ben Parker, took time to offer a public service announcement: “We want to see a good, clean moshpit.”
So far “Getting Closer” is Calva Louise’s biggest and most recognisable hit; the song followed the huge “Belicoso” perfectly on a night that a short, sharp playlist exhibited the band’s exciting potential.
The idea of a “good, clean moshpit” summed up the feel of a feral but wholly positive atmosphere in The Garage’s vertiginous Attic.
review by Luke Hawkins