Check out Timothy Norris' photo gallery from Cold Cave's show at Part Time Punks.
Cold Cave, Former Ghosts, and Abe Vigoda at Eagle Rock Center For The Arts, Dec 4.
On Friday night, Cold Cave fans leaning on the stage were violated like prisoners by the crowd, which forced itself upon their backs. Somehow, though, those closest held their position just as destiny holds its keepers. Things get rowdy at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, but the venue somehow retains an easygoing vibe. Just a strip of yellow caution tape prevented people from bum-rushing the buzz band — who courteously abstained from an encore. But don't get on stage, kids, if you lack finesse as a dancer, especially if you end up stepping on a power cord and single-handedly bring the climax to a premature fizzle.
Decibels swelled during what turned out to be the last Cold Cave song. Wesley Eisold and Caralee McElroy pushed their voices higher and broader, exploring lyrics about “the future,” their hooks picking up choral relics covered in post-punk algae. Non-singing Dominick Fernow bobbed at techno speed over his keyboard, even when the synths trolled along a deep, dense darkwave bottom.
The trio performed songs from album Love Comes Close, which was recently delivered to the masses by Matador Records after some limited self-releases captured indie attention. It's on almost every hip record shop's top album list.
What's the hype about? Dark, gloomy well-crafted electro pop that's dissonant while remaining upbeat. Simple patterns pile up neatly around apocalyptic words, trying to fill the void between “Youth And Lust,” twisting the knife a bit deeper when “Love Comes Close.” Song titles “Heaven Was Full” and “The Trees Grew Emotions And Died” speak for themselves. It's not all mopey. McElroy's lyrics seek an existential place between the present and future. “The Laurels Of Erotomania” hinges on the line, “People pay attention to me, I don't know why,” a classic poetic concept — to love that which does not understand its beauty, but recognizes its power. This, I think, is Cold Cave's raison d'être.
The band was joined by Abe Vigoda, a local band almost everyone loves that's followed the Smell scene over the last few years. The noisy punk pop and indecipherable lyrics convene with island rhythms and certain psychobilly feelings that pleases crowds every time.
But I couldn't wait to see Freddy Ruppert cry. His project, Former Ghosts, involves two more musicians, Jamie Stewart (of Xiu Xiu, who Cold Cave's McElroy also playing in) and Nika Roza (Zola Jesus), but they live in other cities and he often performs solo. Ruppert tears up during performances because all the songs on debut album Fleurs were written for a girl while she took time breaking his heart. The synths twist around electronic drums wearing an '80s goth-pop veil. Ruppert places a hand over his chest, closes his eyes, skips around in circles, his voice shakes, filling the veins in his forehead with blood. Wanting to be up close and share Ruppert's genuinely emotional performance, I was almost punched in the face a few times by his swinging arm. When it was over, he spent some moments catching his breath and walking it off. You don't often come across something this sincere.