Live review: Cold Cave @ the Larimer LoungeBy Billy Thieme | April 12th, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Though their set at the Larimer Lounge last Monday night lasted barely 40 minutes, Cold Cave made a clear connection with the small audience full of young hipsters that braved a school night to be there. That the five-piece enthralled the small audience in such a short time attested to the validity of the band’s retro-goth, darkwave synth pop, and the unavoidable pop hooks looped throughout. Spearheaded by Wesley Eisold’s almost moaning and desperate vocals — I kept hearing Andrew Eldritch and “Pornography” era Robert Smith influence — the group wore their sound as if they came up with it themselves.
But of course they didn’t. Cold Cave’s oeuvre is derivative of New Order in their earliest days, as the seminal post-punk band was still trying to move beyond the specter of Joy Division and the suicide of Ian Curtis. Yet, despite the characteristic isolation and depression evident in Eisold’s goth lyrics as well as his wail, there was an almost fun danceability in some of the tunes that approached the likes of Cut Copy.
The set was split pretty evenly over their first release, “Love Comes Close,” and the recent “Cherish the Light Years,” and featured songs that perfectly couched Eisold’s dramatic melancholy. They opened with “Youth and Lust” and set the tone as the audience slowly began to tap and twitch, then weaved through “Confetti,” “The Laurels of Erotomania” and some others with darkly syncopated rhythms laced with sequenced pop hooks.
In between each song they filled the venue with alternately shimmering, squealing, scraping or thudding noise, undermined by heavy, clothes-shaking bass.
These interludes seemed to point toward a new direction in which Cold Cave is heading — a noisier, more atonal one, with a dense and corresponding artistic angst. The highlight of the set was the poetic “Burning Sage,” a Beaudelaire-ian performance in which Eisold’s emotions boiled over with visceral black imagery above mismatched chords and just-offstep rhythms. A fitting endpoint, the song was cathartic, a little overwhelming, and promising.
After quickly blowing through “Theme from Tomorrowland,” they cleared the stage, and left a now-famished crowd panting for an encore that never happened. No surprise — based on their personality, I’d figured Cold Cave for about the last band ever likely to stage one.