Thursday, March 14, 2019

Live Review :: Calva Louise :: The Prince Albert, Brighton - Mar 13 2019


Calva Louise

The Prince Albert, Brighton

March 13 2019

Words/Pictures: Steve Willcox

London’s scuzzy, fuzzy, punk trio Calva Louise bring their unique brand of stage mayhem to the seaside for the last date in their current UK outing touring their February released debut album 'Rhinoceros'.

When you look at the band's cultural line up, their nationalities make it almost sound like the start of a corny joke: “A Venezuelan, a New Zealander and a Englishman walk into a bar...” But these three are deadly serious in their aim, and judging by the packed out 100 capacity venue - filled with more than a few music industry bods, along with Lady Bird’s Alex Deadman - it feels like tonight’s gig is going to prove a good tour closer.

With the television Countdown clock playing in the background adding to the tense excitement building in the room as they mount the stage, they launch into ‘I’m Gonna Do Well’ with vocalist Jess Allanic’s guitar riff opener bringing an almost collective sense of release amongst the crowd as they get hooked and start dancing. 2018’s pummelling single ‘Outrageous’ has the singer biting back at society’s lack of communication, while ‘Tug Of War’ allows drummer Ben Parker to work his socks off with some rapid fire beats throughout and a nice interplay between the group. There's no let up in its energy during the opening chorus of ‘I Heard A Cry’ either; the song which trades on more pop-ish sensibilites, has the crowd respond accordingly, moving towards the stage, mingling in with the photographers at the front during the charged two minutes.

‘No Hay’ is refreshingly catchy and sung in Allanic's native Spanish tongue, with some deep pulsing bass from bassist Alizon Taho. ‘Cruel Girl’, a song about becoming free and doing just whatever you want, has Jess running out into the crowd with her guitar riffs bouncing around the venue, defying its opening line "My favourite night is going down the drain". ‘Belicoso’ means soldier in Spanish and with its big beats and hard calypso sounding guitars has the band asking everyone to create a friendly mosh pit for those with a warriors passion to get involved, and they do.

Ending the set with their first single from 2017, ‘Getting Closer’ brings audience cheers as Alizon’s opening bass lines are juxtaposed against playful vocals, as the drums kick in and then all hell breaks loose with high pitched screaming as it turns full bubblegum pop-punk. After the applause dies down, the crowd start bellowing “one more song!” despite the fact the band had already started to dismantle their gear. But as their eyes dart from one another, they smile and plug their instruments back in to oblige with ‘Eleanor’. Only the secind time playrd live, its frenetic energy and passion whip up the crowd even more. What a collective masterclass on how to put on a bloody great show. Calva Louise are now officially my favourite band of the year.

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