Live Review: Calva Louise @ O2 Forum, Kentish Town

I went to see The Maine tonight. They were as amazing as you’d expect, but the real surprise for me was their first support, Calva Louise. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of the wannabe The Stokes, begrudgingly nodding their heads as if they don’t even want to be on the stage.

 

CL2

Set the scene: teenage girls and indie boys milling about the floor. No one’s committed to their standing place yet. Calva Louise quietly take their places, nodding to each other to confirm that they’re ready. With the drummer’s count, everyone turns to pay attention. No one can pinpoint exactly what makes this band different, but there are several murmurings of approval from self-certified critics.

 

“If one doesn’t make it, it’s put on the back-shelf and then we bring it back in as a sort of Frankenstein song.”

Drummer, Ben, says this is because they all come from different parts of the world. Being from New Zealand, he grew up listening to Blink182 and Linkin Park; Jess, the guitarist and singer, has her Venezuelan roots and inspiration from South American rap music; while Alizon, the bassist, has more theatrical based influences. The writing cycle is just as organic. Their songs are squeezed and stretched like elastic bands, previously set aside riffs and lyrics appearing back as “Frankenstein songs”. Their sound is all of this combined, giving them a vibe that I’d never quite experienced before.

 

The now UK based grunge-pop band came together 3 years ago, finding it hard to “discern what’s real and genuine” in the challenging industry. This adds onto daily stresses like yesterday’s gig: three accidents on the road made them late to their Amsterdam show. With ten minutes to park and unload with the doors opening during the sound check, it was a surreal experience, to say the least. They say that crowds like tonight’s make it worth it.

 

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