On the heels of their new album, Good Graces, Calotype took the stage at Mercury Lounge with new music for old souls. The band is a slice of Americana, singing whiskey-soaked barroom anthems in hopes of sending themselves, as Larry Hess sings, back into your good graces. The night began with Smile From Tokyo, a grunge band that echoes the 90s with a sound that feels like the swell and crash of a Pacific wave. Instrumental post-rock band RMA followed with frantic psychedelic layered sounds paired with lots of distortion.
Calotype headlined the show, as Larry claimed the stage in all black, with the exception of his signature white leather shoes, wielding a 12-string guitar. Calotype also features Amanda Skye on vocals, Debbie Chou on keyboard and background vocals, Doug Fallone on Bass, and Lee Diamond on drums. Amanda’s vocals float over Larry and Debbie, as Debbie keeps a steady pulse on the keys with gentle melodies between verses. Larry often introduces each song with a simple, sometimes unsavory or grotesque, story. Their song “Gluetraps” is about a rat Larry saw chew off its own foot, and “Midwest-Canadian Blues” references the all-nude strip clubs that can be found in Windsor, Ontario. Once the band starts playing, these cute little stories turn into existential questions and a search for answers in a very vulnerable state of mind.
Calotype is the kind of band that plays with a certain level of intimacy and familiarity that makes their show as comfortable as a well-worn sofa. One of the things that make Calotype so unique is the vulnerability they show as the volume of the music increases, almost as if the sound was what they used to break the fourth wall. To keep up with Calotype, make sure to give their Facebook page a like.