The Cave Singers @ Metro Club, 26 February 2008

Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 17:03 | Category : Uncategorized
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Last Tuesday night at the end of Oxford Street was an evening of contrasts. 2000 of The Kids were packing into the Astoria to see perplexingly over-rated Young Knives. Then about 50 metres or so round the corner and downstairs about 30 people had turned up to watch The Cave Singers at their first London headline gig.

I’m a bit of a fan of the Seattle band’s debut album Invitation Songs so I had fairly high expectations of how it would translate into a live experience. I wasn’t to be disappointed. Onstage, The Cave Singers specialise in a delightfully stripped down American folk-rock, which is a bit more folk than rock. Although they employ a pleasing array of different instruments and percussion, theirs is a minimalist approach, a sort of less-is-more which pays off splendidly. Frontman Pete Quirk’s vocals have the sort of nasal quality that may be off-putting to some, but for me, they’re unique and engaging.

They played most of Invitation Songs and a few others, ending the main set with the brilliant double-whammy of the synth-led Helen and the single Dancing on Our Graves, which with its Johnny Cash vibe and furiously scrubbed washboard percussion ended on a particular high. There was an encore of course, but the small size of the venue and the crowd meant that the band didn’t bother leaving the stage. Still, a couple more Cave Singers songs are always welcome.

In the end then, a fine show. But as my friend and I left we wondered where a band like The Cave Singers can go. Would they ever play venues larger than this to bigger crowds? Theirs is a classic sound, almost timeless music, but it seems sadly unlikely that they’ll win over the sort of people who flock to NME Awards shows. The only thing I can say is I hope so. Other similar bands have made that sort of crossover, and the Cave Singers certainly deserve to as well.

Download: The Cave Singers – Belmar
Download: The Cave Singers – After the First Baptism

The album Invitation Songs is out now. You should get it. The tracks above are b-sides which may or may not have featured in last week’s gig. I can’t remember.

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