I headed to the familiar confines of Wharf Chambers to catch the much-anticipated return of post-rock/folk act Her name is Calla in support of their new EP The Dead Rift.
Support came in the form of acoustic singer-songwriter Lauren Rycroft and local experimental dreampop trio Kumiko, hosted by the fantastic DIY promotion team Bad Owl Presents.
Opening the show was Lauren Rycroft, a Leeds based musician playing a set of folk-tinged acoustic songs, extremely captivating from the get-go. Performing various numbers from her 2016 EP ‘Tide of the Mind’, she quickly won over the crowd with a vocal delivery that was ethereal, powerful and emotive, everything you would want from such an act. ‘Marrow to Our Bones’ was my personal favourite song from the set, with a strong lyrical presence and great melodies. ‘Alice’, also from the EP and a cover of ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac showcased her impressive vocal diversity, and the room was filled with joyous applause as each song ended.
Lauren proved herself to be the ideal opening act for the evening – a promising upcoming talent from the area who I look forward to seeing again soon. The aforementioned EP is available for listening on Spotify.
Next up was Kumiko, a Leeds based trio new to my ears, who incorporated a wealth of influences into their unique live show. The three-piece effortlessly blended a variety of sounds, ranging from jazz through to alt-rock and dreampop, which was as much delicate as it was powerful. Lead vocalist Francesca Pidgeon carried the band through with a great presence and poignant vocal delivery, with the funky basslines and experimental drumming creating a fantastic backdrop in which they could shine. ‘Ironclad’ and ‘Take My Blood’ were my personal highlights from the set, illustrating the band’s creativity and diversity perfectly. A couple of their EPs and singles are available on Spotify and are well worth checking out. I look forward to hearing what they do next.
Finally, it was time for headline act Her Name is Calla to take to the stage. It had been a couple of years since my previous encounters with the Leicester based band and it was great to see them back on stage in Leeds, this time with a new vocalist/violinist.
One thing that always strikes me when reminiscing about the Her Name is Calla shows that I’ve seen in various cities over the years is the diversity of the fanbase – and the crowd in Leeds was no different. With people from all walks of life near filling the room before they had even started to play, it felt great to be back in the crowd of a band whose music clearly resonates with fans of many different types of music – people who will travel far and wide to see them perform their distinctive and highly introspective take on post-rock.
The set was much more varied sound-wise than I had seen in the past, taking songs from ‘The Heritage’, ‘The Quiet Lamb’ and ‘The Dead Rift’ releases. The band are very skilled at conveying raw emotion through their music on record and on this occasion that came across tenfold in their live show. The frantic drums mixed with the haunting violin sounds created a memorable live experience and the vocals soared over the emotive music with great intensity. Being a huge fan of Maybeshewill, also from Leicester, it is great to see another band from the area doing something different from the post-rock norm.
If you’d like a trip to Ireland you can see Her name is Calla on the following dates in September:
- 20th – 39 Gordon Street, Belfast
- 21st – The Poor Relation, Cork
- 22nd – Roisin Dubh, Galway
- 23rd – Venture Presents, Dublin
Their new EP ‘The Dead Rift’ is available now.
Details of upcoming shows from Bad Owl Presents can be found here facebook.com/BadOwlPresents
Gary writes for Leeds Living on contemporary music, being an avid goer of gigs and a supporter of local talent.