Calico M.D. in Savannah has appeared on several shows in the past few months including a set of stopovers in Savannah, and at The Lodge of Savannah with Buzzards of Zuz and Bastardan. But once they start making some noise, Calico MD prepares to take a short breather while guitarist Tanner Hamilton goes on tour with his other band, Holy Ghost Tabernacle Choir.
Crumbsnatcher and Teal Peel’s opening slot at El Rocko Lounge on June 10 will be the last chance to check out this indie rock band.
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Led by singer/guitarist Kevin Block, Calico rose from the ashes of his former band’s Too Much with Calico MD bassist Bradford Shields. Like many of the current bands in Savannah’s relatively small indie rock scene, Calico MD shares its cast with other local acts. For example, while Hamilton drums for the Holy Ghost Tabernacle Choir, guitarist Jake Givens plays bass for the math-rock band Hot Plate.
Each organ brings its own unique flavor to Calico MD’s sound that has been described as “a blend of metallic and melodic tones, giving an atmospheric quality while underpinned by a driving rhythm section.”
“Through our band, I’ve noticed an interesting Nirvana-esque style of songwriting, because I know Kevin is in the process of expanding and contracting,” Shields said. “It’s like you have a quieter part and then you have a loud chorus. With Tanner on lead guitar, Tanner plays a lot of metal, so he has a tough edge on guitar. Jake was on Hot Plate and they are a great rock and math band.” It’s a monster.
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Block, who recently returned to Savannah after living in Philadelphia for a few years, wrote most of the songs, but not without colorful input from his bandmates.
“I have a sort of oriented thing,” Block explained. Everyone adds their own stuff. We have two songs in our group that we created from calico time, and I took two songs from my Philly group. I like what everyone brings. Everyone has a different style, so I feel really comfortable. I find the right people in the right places.”
In terms of influences, Block says he’s been listening to a lot of ’80s music, particularly Robert Palmer’s “Johnny and Mary.” Blok’s own songs often revolve around the places he’s lived in—Florida, Savannah, and Philadelphia (for better or worse).
“I didn’t really like Philadelphia,” Block said. “This was a great time. I wrote about a guy who stopped on the side of the street to catch heroin who almost got off the road.”
Calico MD has received a lot of support from Dog Days Presents, who recently booked shows and promoted the indie rock community in Savannah, but Block is happy to have Calico MD outsiders while developing and improving their sound.
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“I kind of try not to play all the time,” Block said. “I kind of feel like on the outside looking inside which is really nice. We’re going to take some time, we’re going to remake our group, and we’ll come up with something new in a couple of months.”
Check out Calico MD when they open to Crumbsnatcher in Nashville. Founded by standoff striker Samuel “Guetts” Guetterman, Crumbsnatcher is named after a derogatory term he chose during a year-long stint in a ruthless faith-based juvenile concentration camp when he was 16 years old.
Fortunately, the nightmarish experience did not break Jetman’s spirit or impair his sense of humor. Crumbsnatcher sounds like Pixies and Talking Heads with the disrespectful energy of the Beastie Boys. They describe their music as “contagiously immersive” with “the habit of crushing your inhibitions into a fine paste and then painting the word ‘party’ on your mind.”
Jacksonville’s Teal Peel plays with the loose sideboard, but he’s embodied with horns and steel on the pedal. Savannah’s pop-punk space super spies, Manaroff, are still riding the wave of their excellent self-titled debut album.
if you go
What: Dog Days Crumbsnatcher w/ Teal Peel, The Manarovs, Calico MD offers
When: Friday at 9 p.m
Where: El Rocko Lounge, 117 Whitaker Street