Cowgirl Clue at Bottom of the Hill, by Lorisa Salvatin
Cowgirl Clue (photo: Lorisa Salvatin)

Words by Lorisa Salvatin

With a small string of California shows lined up, Texas-born, OC-based Cowgirl Clue kicked it off by playing a small, but high-energy show at Bottom of the Hill on Friday night.

The underground pop artist, more formally known as Ashley Rose Calhoun, reeled in the crowd with her mystifying union of synthy melodies, pulsing bass and drum, and whimsical lyrics. Cowgirl Clue reigned the stage on her own, last night. Having been short of her usual accompaniment on drum pad, she illustrated that her craft is more than just a cool new sound for pop, but also a visual art, working the stage and displaying dance moves all her own (an homage to her modern dance years in college and fascination with voguing, Calhoun noted.)  Though this show only harbored an intimate-sized crowd, they showed their dedication to VadaVada, singing and moving along to the upbeat energy and the intricate sounds of her classic tracks, “Cherry Jubilee,” “Utopia,” and “Metamorphosis”.

These next strings of shows are all to ramp up for what’s in the near future, Calhoun said. Weaved into her setlist were newer songs, “Taxi, Taxi,” “Buzz Out,” and “Clue Wear,” which all have a different feel than the tracks on her previous EP, Limellight.

“I guess, it’s shaping more into a introduction to  who I am...” she said, as she elaborated on writing new songs for a potential new release before the year ends, “They’re a lot more simple now and much more catchy than before.”

In addition to new music to come, Cowgirl Clue continues to just soak in her growth as musician. In the coming days, she will be playing a show dedicated to the release of her new music video Thursday, August 30 at 1720 in LA. She will also be sharing the stage at the Teragram Ballroom with Mac DeMarco this coming Friday.

An array of artists opened up for Cowgirl Clue at Friday night’s show — “It’s kind of like a mixed bag,” mentioned Calhoun, when speaking on the night’s openers. On one end, Rinse & Repeat added quirk and spunk to the lineup. The duo, clad in matching jumpsuits and metallic painted combat boots, warmed up the crowd with a set of new wave mixed with punk. Their driving bass lines and sharp synth reminiscent of something out of a space odyssey. On the other end, Oakland native, Siri, slowed it down, rapping and singing over mellow hip-hop and R&B beats. In contrast to the upbeat melodies of the former artist mentioned, Siri’s music seemed to hold more weight lyrically, as she began each song with a personal anecdote. There was strong message in the vibe her music: Just chill and do you.