Alex Calder brought his laidback guitar centric lo-fi pop back to his hometown for two Edmonton shows. After a show supporting No Joy, he headlined a more intimate Wunderbar show attended by friends, family, and a semi-coherent Thursday night warrior who “was definitely named Rick.”
Calder’s easy-going steez, confident playing, and warbly guitar melodies provided the perfect soundtrack to slacking off and draining a few Old Milwaukees on a Thursday night. When we later chatted Calder told me that it had been a lot of fun breezing through some of the songs from this year’s Time EP. Although he’d played in Edmonton as part of other bands (notably Makeout Videotape with Mac DeMarco), it was a bit daunting to play his own material in front of hometown friends and family. “You never really feel nervous playing other people’s music,” Calder said. “If you screw up, it’s totally all their fault and you’re fine.”
The daydreamy set took a funny turn midway through when Calder’s bassist (Edmontonian Garrett Johnson) plucked the conspicuous first few notes of Pink Floyd’s Money and a middle-aged rocker jumped up onstage, grabbed the mic and nonchalantly mumbled a few lines of verse. Then he flashed a devil-horn salute to Calder and his band mates and returned to grooving out on the front of the stage.
No stranger to answering questions about people he’s made music with, when I asked Calder what he thought about the impromptu jam his good nature came through, “He had ‘Rick’ written all over his face. ‘Rick’ was just doing his thing rocking out!”
The show made it clear that Calder’s lo-fi pop can carry a room on its own, so he laughed taking it in stride when I asked him one question about another infamous collaborator, “What’s the record for the amount of times you’ve been asked about Mac DeMarco in an interview?”
Calder is currently working on a full-length that he hopes will be ready sometime after Christmas. In the meantime, spend a few minutes checking out Alex Calder’s debut EP Time.
Words and photo by Levi Manchak