Cave Singers

Echo, Dec. 4

To call a spade a spade: I’ve been listening to the Cave Singers album Invitation Songs an appreciable amount over the last few weeks. And listening, and listening, and listening… It’s become borderline monomaniacal; the show at the Echo last night, though, did not prove a suitable forum for the Cave Singers to properly showcase.

There is an intimacy conveyed with Invitation Songs, and a revelry, that isn’t properly suited to a venue like the Echo, or perhaps the relatively green band is still working on rendering that tenderness live. For much of their set, chattering and glass clanking could be heard in the background, which perhaps was due to vocalist Pete Quirk’s austere presentation, but was distracting nonetheless. Their set ended up being unusually brief, making the band’s repertoire seem anemic. And they didn’t play my personal favorite, “Helen,” which is the one track that is consistently called as their standout savior in album reviews, so I can’t fathom why it was left off the set list. The trio is based in the currently flooded Washington state, so maybe the thought of running around in the dry Southern California climate proved too alluring, and they were anxious to finish up the night’s work.

Derek Fudesco’s bass-informed guitar picking does have a pleasurably distinct and consistent cadency, and it was charming to watch Quirk blow into his melodica and beat on his washboard with a maraca. The crowd clearly gathered last night to see the Cave Singers, as it noticeably diminished after their set was over, and the energy was on-point for the last song of the evening, “Dancing on Our Graves.” But the same measure of care and devotion Quirk, Fudesco, and Marty Lund employed when developing their radiant debut album needs to be assembled when in front of an audience. I'm sure they'll pull through.

All photos (and legs) by Rena Kosnett

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