by Jeff Kirby
on Sun, Jul 24, 2011 at 1:12 PM
The 9:00pm time slot yesterday proved to be perhaps the toughest decision of the day, with Les Savy Fav on the mainstage squaring off against Cold Cave inside Neumos. Prior to this weekend I knew Cold Cave by name and buzz only - former Stranger mouthpiece Eric Grandy has been loudly touting their dour dance parties for a while now, but he says a lot of stuff and I mostly just drift in and out of paying attention to him. Last night, however, I was willing to give Eric the benefit of the doubt, and follow him into Neumos early to post up for a good spot. This was a smart choice, as being that the Block Party is a popular, crowded music festival, you need to get anywhere early in order to see anything.
As I understood it, Cold Cave were supposed to be some sort of "Goth" band. Just look at their press photo. The Guardian, in England, where they know a lot about Goths apparently, said, "Wesley Eisold is an absolute new young god of nihilism and despair," and then they continued on to compare him to Morrisey. I wasn't sure if I should be getting ready to dance or sulk, or both at the same time. Looking around the room, the audience seemed to be shorter than the average crowd. I decided this was because short people are sadder than tall people, and thus more likely to attend a Cold Cave concert.
As it turns out, the dismal Goth vibes of Cold Cave are really more of a subtext to their live sound - the blaring synths and contagious rhythms, matched with the intense energy of the performers, makes for a thoroughly non-depressing dance party, though deeply rooted in the gloomy new wave roots of Depeche Mode and New Order. The synths are dark and the vocals are low and anguished, but they still combined to create a room of sweaty, dancing "normies" that seemed anything but bummed out. The dismal goth vibes are certainly not a subtext to Cold Cave's live persona, however. Synth-masters Eisold and Dominick Fernow wore all black, including Black leather jackets for the entirety of their set in the swelteringly packed venue. The sweat poured off them as they writhed on the keys and mic, Fernow doing this dance where he would back into the corner of the stage, flailing, lifting the jacket off his shoulders just to the point where you would think he was finally ready to take it off, but then he'd keep it on. In sheer Goth determination, they kept their leather jackets on for the entire set, despite the fact that it looked like they were both about to pass out from heat exhaustion by the end. So let's talk about this:
Would Cold Cave have been less cool (figuratively) if they would have taken their jackets off?
Wesley Eisold has a serious Crispin Glover vibe going on. Is that cool?
If you had to spend the rest of your life completely surrounded by Goths or Hippies, which would you choose? (If your choice is "I'd rather kill myself," please check the Goth box)