Calico brew up a jazz-tronica storm in Brighton

Having supported jazz pioneers Mammal Hands and Vels Trio, Brighton-based Calico were more than ready to headline the Hope & Ruin with their own unique blend of jazz, rock and electronica. Reflecting the mood of the times, they opened the set with a strong, politically-charged sample. A version of an essay by Paul Harvey, 'If I Were a Devil' served as the background for their track 'New World', which they played over a combination of acoustic and electronic instruments. Amid the drama, there was a call and response interplay between trumpeter Lewis Husbands and keyboardist Chris Martyr.

They were promoting their new single 'Trappist' from their upcoming EP where a different conversation between trumpet and keyboard could be heard. It was based around a staccato keyboard motif, interjected with bursts of sound effects and riffs from the trumpet, which sounded more like an argument this time. This relationship between the hard and the soft seemed to be prevalent in their music and was highlighted in their track 'Circles'. All instruments began a unison marching rhythm, which then gave way to more meandering, ambient sounds. 'Flow' also left you with a false sense of security, the pleasant, unhurried journey broken up by a jarring change of time signature and complicated rhythms played by drummer (and sometime astrophysicist) Graham Burgess exposing their math rock influences.

This four-piece blended fantastically well together, whatever the tension in the music. They may have lost a bass player but in the process gained a heavier, synth bass-led sound. This creative approach to overcoming obstacles has made them a much stronger band and their music more exciting and original. Yet with the audience crying for more, on this their strongest gig to date, guitarist Daniel Nixon had to sheepishly admit they had no more songs. A case of quality exceeding quantity, as they left the stage no doubt plotting a swift return and an expanded set list.

– Tina Blower

The Write Stuff

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