There are a few bands that we like to obsess over here at Sync Towers, and we don’t shy away from admitting it. You can generally spot them from their multiple appearances in our Sync List on Spotify, where the likes of Sun Silva, Yonaka, Fickle Friends, Childcare and Franc Moody have become frequent – and welcome – guests.

Another regular inclusion is the spiky and raucous sound of Calva Louise, who we’ve followed closely since the first listen of the anthemic I Heard A Cry back in September last year. Their releases since then – including debut album Rhinoceros – have steadily built a picture of a band with stacks of ideas and plenty of ability to deliver them.

This absolutely packed show in the environs of the small-but-charming Shacklewell Arms felt like the band at their very best. The Manchester-based three-piece – and we’re still not quite sure how just three can make such a loud, distinctive and well-rounded sound – brought their A-game for this joyous romp through their musical story so far.

Jess Allanic, Calva Louise, London, 4/12/19 (photo © Selena Ferro for Sync)
Jess Allanic, Calva Louise, London, 4/12/19 (photo © Selena Ferro for Sync)

As well as many of the album highlights, including Outrageous and Tug of War, they also let rip with the tracks from the most recent EP Interlude For The Borderline Unsettled, including Belicoso, Adelante and the quite brilliant Sleeper.

Lead singer Jess Allanic is wonderfully charismatic and charming for the chatter in-between songs, and fearsomely energetic in performance. It’s clear that she and bandmates Alizon Taho (backing vocals, bass) and Ben Parker (backing vocals, drums) have honed their live skills well during a string of support slots during 2019. The result is as slick as it is powerful – they are a simply unmissable live band.

Review by Martin Allen / Photos by Selena Ferro

Support on the night came in the form of South Londoners Gaygirl, a superbly engaging grunge-meets-shoegaze outfit full of massive guitar riffs and terrific vocals courtesy of beguilling lead singer Bex Morrison. There’s a touch of Wolf Alice about their sound, which is bound to break out much bigger audiences during 2020.

The first support of the night was indie-rock four-piece The Extons. Hailing from King’s Lynn, these guys come armed with some seriously rock-solid tunes that deserve to be picked up for bigger exposure. They’re also top-level live performers who are probably only a few key support slots away from a major breakthrough.

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