Calliope Musicals

“I dreamed this dream would never end,” was being chanted by hundreds of fans in the crowd, old and new. The final song was a culmination of all the hype and all the excitement from their entire performance. Every audience member held their signs high, and chanted with all their might that it might come true. If I had to summarize this band in a word, that word would be “FANTASTIC!” And yes, in all caps. It’s very necessary. They have an encompassing name that truly sets the stage for everything you’ll experience. Calliope, in Greek mythology, was the lover of Ares, the God of War. But she is most widely recognized for being the muse of eloquence and epic poetry. Quite the title to hold, I’d say. And then you have musicals, which fits hand-in-hand with epic poetry. Calliope Musicals call themselves a psychedelic disco honky-tonk band, but I call them mind-blowing, psychedelic fun. Frontwoman, Carrie Fussell, heads the charge followed by Matt Roth, Craig Finkelstein, Josh Bickley, Chris Webb, and Andrew Vizzone, who are by no means background players. Everyone contributes here and everyone knows how to have a blast on stage.

The visuals that Calliope Musicals have on stage really set the mood for their show. The stage and mic stands were littered in tinsel and flowers, as one might imagine in a theatrical play. Not only is the music fun, different, and upbeat, but the band wants everyone involved. Before the show begins, Fussell tosses out small, plastic bottles for audience members to blow bubbles, which enhances the theatrical setting. Fussell and lead guitarist, Chris Webb, both have an exuberant amount of energy, love to perform, and love the spotlight. And we love them in it. They both will find moments to elevate themselves on stage, or just run off the stage entirely and jam out with the crowd. Fussell grabs pom-poms made of tinsel before running out there, and this dramatizes each gesture for a larger-than-life performance. If this crazy energy, lively music, and bubble blowing wasn’t enough…they have a confetti canon. And oh my goodness, the crowd went nuts! They also have quirky props, smiley faces, and background performers who come in and contribute to the show. And at the end, they pass out signs that read “Enjoy!” for all the crowd the hold and bounce around with. And damn it, we did.

Certain venues are more conducive to aiding certain bands’ performances. At the Empire Control Room & Garage, Calliope Musicals took the grand stage outside. The lighting was just excellent and the crowd was definitely there tonight. Apart from the band’s performance, I feel the experience was so heightened due to the environment, great sound, and stellar lighting. Empire has a great staff of engineers to make this happen. 

Seeing Calliope Musicals left me in shock. At the end of it, I forgot I was actually at work and I couldn’t believe I saw that show for free. It was better than many “big” bands that I’ve paid good money to see. Their new, free EP titled “FreEP,” will need to hold me over until the next time I’m able to see their fun, psychedelic performance again. They very quickly made a fan out of me, and I will undoubtedly be seeing them again. I don’t want the dream to end.

-Matt Jain, TipCow

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