Calvin Love The Garrison, Toronto ON, February 12
Published Feb 13, 2016Edmonton-based psychedelic glam rocker Calvin Love has frequently pledged allegiance to higher-minded super freaks like David Bowie and Iggy Pop, but at Wavelength's festival opening last night, those reference points left something to be desired.
It's not that Calvin Love's music is bad or that his group's performance at the Garrison was particularly poor; the problem was the group's professionalism. This is a band that has proven an ability to transport listeners to truly weird, delightfully disoriented spaces on recordings like last year's Super Future, but last night, technical focus trumped and muzzled all impulses to let loose and catapult into the phantasmagorical, and that meant an act that was slick and normal (at one point, Love actually told the crowd the band was going to "mellow it out" and transport listeners "to a beach") where it could have been slimy and surreal.
The most exciting and imaginative moment was delivered in an all-too-brief moment at the end of the set, when Love and his band abandoned the formality of their performance and dug into a brief fit of semi-indulgent, unhinged noodling.