Cold-Cave-580x380.jpg
Like this, only with half the people and no drums.
Cold Cave

Friday, February 10th

Electric Tea Garden

It's the prerogative of any bilious, world-hating

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Cold Cave Keep It Short and Bittersweet at Second Sight

Cold-Cave-580x380.jpg
Like this, only with half the people and no drums.
Cold Cave

Friday, February 10th

Electric Tea Garden

It's the prerogative of any bilious, world-hating goth band to be as sullen and short with their audience as they wanna be. So on the one hand, you can't really blame Cold Cave for playing what might have been their tersest set ever Friday night at a sold-out Second Sight; on the other hand, what the fuck?

Granted, squeezing Cold Cave into the Electric Tea Garden for the Actual Pain-sponsored goth rave monthly was a coup in itself. The last two shows the Brooklyn-based band played in Seattle were also to sold-out crowds, but at the considerably larger Neumos for Capitol Hill Block Party and at the larger still Showbox Market, opening for the Kills. To get to see them play a small, sweaty, loft-style dance party to maybe 150 people was no small thing.

And it wasn't just the venue that was compact; Cold Cave themselves were stripped down from a three-piece (and formerly a quartet) to a duo, live drummer jettisoned for just frontman Wes Eisold and keyboardist/noisemaker Dominick Fernow on vocals and electronics. And though the band have (in my experience) always played short sets, whether at festivals, opening for other bands, or headlining their own shows, Friday night's show was abbreviated even by their standards, the duo thrashing through a half dozen or so songs in what couldn't have been over half an hour.

And they didn't pad things out with any banter or niceties, either. Their set began with them walking up in front of the DJ booth, a security guard ushering the crowd back to make room for their gear, and them silently commencing to play. After their set, they seemed to vanish as abruptly as they appeared.

The small portions are only a problem when the food is good, of course, and Cold Cave do the morbid, industrial-stained synth pop better than anyone going right now. Eisold hung on his microphone and telegraphed his moping like he wanted it to be seen from outer space, while Fernow leaned hard into his box of electronics or more often danced around, jackbooted, arms swinging rigid as hammers. I'd wondered if they might things noisier for Second Sight, or just to compensate for the lack of live percussion, but to my ears their set played things pretty straight to the recorded versions and in-line with their sets of the past year (though condensed), subtly favoring the more electronic, less "live" sounding songs of their catalogue (ie, none of the acoustic guitar strum of "Catacombs" or chintzy horns of "Alchemy and You"). "Confetti" and "Underworld USA" off last year's Cherish The Light Years were obvious highlights, two stalking, stomping mid-tempo dance numbers with massive sing-along choruses. But again, the whole set was great--there just wasn't enough of it.

No notes/fuzzy memory means I probably don't have the set-list entirely right in order or otherwise, but I think it included the following (feel free as always to correct me):

The Laurels of Erotomania

Youth and Lust

Underworld USA

Love Comes Close

Confetti

Burning Sage

I've Seen the Future and It's No Place for Me

 
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