Sometimes a juxtaposition between the stage and the Larimer Lounge can define a band. Often the more accessible, pop-hooked bands seem to get overwhelmed by the Lounge’s punkier aesthetic, and lose the audience as a result. This is what happened to Caveman on Tuesday night, where the Brooklyn-based quintet failed to woo a largely passive crowd — surprisingly, for a band currently enjoying significant buzz.
Maybe it was a result of the band’s eclecticism, but the members never seemed to fully engage the fans as they played a short 45-minute set. Smooth, well-executed tunes that floated a little heavily on shoegaze made more of a background impression than a strong focal point, and the crowd thinned pretty quickly after the set began.
On record, the quintet has put together a collection of well-hooked songs along the lines of Tame Impala, with a flavoring of Yeasayer mixed in — particularly on its latest release, “Coco Beware.” Live, the songs fell a little flat. “A Country’s King of Dreams,” a sweeping and cathartic anthem on record, just seemed a little contrived in front of the small Larimer. And the four-part harmonies of “Great Life” carry some weight on record — but ended up sounding more like a slightly watered-down Fray on stage.
Of course the whole performance wasn’t all bad. The band hit a nice, communal groove with “Old Friend,” and coalesced with the audience on “Thankful.” “Decide” was another highlight, and felt a little like Belle & Sebastian — pastoral and clean.