As they first take to the stage, the riotous energy of punk band Calva Louise seems almost a world away from the friendly trio I spoke on the phone with a few days prior. Consisting of vocalist and guitarist Jess Eastwood, drummer Ben Parker and bassist Alizon Taho, the band’s electric stage presence is apparent as soon as they start their set, and it doesn’t seem to be the only night in their tour that’s started off with a bang. “We just played Newcastle and Glasgow, and they’ve been full of people jumping around and having fun, it’s been crazy.” Alizon reports with a laugh. Jess seems just as excited. “They knew the songs!” she squeals. “We’ve just been so touched that people came, and were having fun. It made us really happy.” It’s clear that this appreciation for the fans is reciprocated. Opening with their hit ‘I’m Gonna Do Well’, the band seem at ease, getting an already adoring crowd jumping to the band’s notorious fizzy punk sound.
The band follow an incredible opener with tracks ‘Outrageous’ and ‘Tug of War’, both of which feature on their debut album Rhinoceros which released earlier this year. “The name Rhinoceros is influenced by a play of the same name by Eugène Ionesco, and we love it because it’s so absurdist.” Jess explains. “The main character doesn’t conform to the world around him, and stays true to himself. We related to that, as young people and as foreigners.” The passion for their music is not unnoticed, as the band doesn’t seem to stop smiling throughout their set, even when faced with complex bass lines and dramatic guitar rifts, all of which were handled gracefully. As the night continues, the magnitude of influences on the group’s sound becomes apparent, but the band seem comfortable with such a wide range of inspirations. “We’re inspired by so many things!” Jess exclaims. “Film and plays serve as a massive inspiration. Edgar Wright is a massive influence for us, his films have this amazing pace, and his soundtracks are incredible. So yeah, comic books, films, but music wise there’s also lot. We love stuff from the 80s, like The Bangles and the B52s. And of course, garage bands like The White Stripes, or Queens of the Stone Age. We’re just influenced by everything we like!”
“We’re all friends now! Dance!” Jess shouts to the crowd before delving into the next song, ‘Wondertail’. It’s a statement that rings true, as intimacy between the band and the audience is certainly noticeable, and is only topped by the closeness of the band itself. Between songs, you can spot the band chatting and laughing, and making sure to dance together while playing their set. While certainly heart-warming to watch, it’s no surprise the band are close considering how young they started. “I grew up in Venezuela, but my dad is French so I moved there when I was 16. In school, I met Alizon and we both knew we wanted to play music.” Jess and Alizon laugh. “We agreed that the best place to do that was England, so came in a small car, stayed at different hotels every night and played as many gigs as we could. At one of the gigs, we met Ben, started playing together, and that was the start of Calva Louise!” While so far from home, Jess still pays homage to her roots in the song ‘No Hay’, a notable highlight of the night, in which the vocalist demonstrated her impressive abilities, all while speaking in her native language of Spanish. “I love ‘No Hay’ the most because it’s in my mother tongue,” Jess smiles. “I love singing it, it feels special to me.” While certainly her favourite of their works, the rest of the band have differing opinions. “I think we all have different favourites! Mine is the last track, ‘Out of Use,” Ben grins. Alizon chimes in; “I like Down the Stream. It’s different, but I feel it’s the easiest to relate to for me!”
The night ends on a high, with the band showing their gratitude to the crowd by stepping off the stage to dance in the crowd, and ending with an exclusive new track, ‘Batalla’. Their gratitude is just as obvious offstage. “We’re just so happy people love the album, because that’s what it was made for.” Jess says excitedly. “Now we have this, that represents the first two years of us, we can move in another direction.” It seems that the group are already planning ahead, and do not intend to take a break, once the tour is over. “After finishing the headline tour we’re going to support two American bands called The Maine, and Airways,” they explain. “We really love the bands, so we’re so happy to be touring with them!” They seem genuinely excited, and with such impressive feats under their belt, the young punk band have every right to be.
You can listen to Calva Louise’s debut album, Rhinoceros, here.