Calpurnia concert at the Vogue
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Calpurnia is an indie rock band formed in Vancouver in 2017. The band consists of vocalist and guitarist Finn Wolfhard (who is well-known due to his role as Mike Wheeler in the television show Stranger Things), vocalist and guitarist Ayla Tesler-Mabe, drummer Malcolm Craig, and bassist Jack Anderson. Their debut EP Scout was released on June 15, 2018.
Their first concert scheduled for December 21 quickly sold out, so the band added another show the next night at the Vogue Theatre.
With only a year of experience under their belt, I didn’t expect the band to be very developed. My prediction was accurate; there were many areas for the band to develop. Smaller issues, such as two guitar amps losing their cord connection and vocal pitch errors in their live performance, were both key faults most bands make in their earlier years. Of course, having room to grow is better than perceived flawlessness.
I also expected rock to be prevalent in their live sound versus a mellow, breezy take but I was impressed by their smooth pace and key changes, easily gliding between the genres in each song. The quartet is extremely musically-inclined, which threw me for a loop considering their ages range from 16 to 17. Their movements on stage matched their tunes and the show came together as an experience of genuine indie rock. The audience swayed and grooved, then the next second the floor was pulsating with jumps.
Wolfhard emitted amazing energy as centre stage—jumping off sets, headbanging while shredding his guitar, and in quieter moments leaning into the audience, capturing breaths during hushed moments. Tesler-Mabe was a sight for sore eyes, dressed in flowy red sequined pants and tall platform heels.
They kicked off the set with “Wasting Time,” an upbeat tune boasting intense guitar solos. During “Louie,” Anderson clicked two sticks together for the beat, being a minimalist groovy song. The band also covered Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.” While many cannot do that song justice, Calpurnia pulled it off with their sound being similar enough, yet still presenting their own take with Wolfhard’s belting vocals. Seeing the setlist online, I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t play their cover of “Butterfly” by Twin Peaks, however they did cover “Wanted You.”
Lastly, they played “Waves,” a track on Scout that sounds vastly different from the rest of the EP. Tesler-Mabe’s soft, Mac DeMarco-like voice carries throughout the song. The guitars strum dreamily, and the drums add the right amount of tang to the otherwise delicate seven-minute song.
Although they’re a relatively new band, they’ve gained traction fast. They’re one to look out for as they gain the experience that will back them up on their journey into the spotlight.