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Friday, September 16, 2011

Caveman Band, Mercury Lounge Record Release Party... Walking upright indeed.

It started with the wall of sound that captured my attention last winter at Bowery Ballroom.  We were there to see the supremely talented headliners, White Rabbits.  For me, that night represented a coming of age for both me, and their supporting act: NY based Caveman.


My story is pretty simple.  I had stopped writing for about 10 years.   As Caveman wrapped up a stirring rendition of "Old Friends" it struck me...  I need to be back doing what I enjoy, what makes me happy.  I looked in their faces and heard in their instruments a sort of pureness.  Creative forces banding together and making art.  When done correctly and without pretense, it can bring joy to both artist and audience.


With that, I also decided I need to be around music a lot more too.


It is that kind of inspiration and goodness that comes from Caveman music.  More importantly, it is their live performances that are designed for elation.  Last night, at Mercury Lounge in the Lower East Side, Caveman displayed this prowess celebrating the digital release of their debut album:  CoCo Beware.  For more info on the band take a look here:  http://cavemantheband.com/.


The album, all moody and haunting, happens to be an exceptional debut.  Last night the gentlemen played its contents as headliners.  And it is about time.


As I have written about 5 of their shows during the past year I will refrain from the song by song analysis.  It's 2011 and if you give me the slightest bit of credibility you can look and listen to all of this and judge for yourself:


"Vampirer/Old Friend" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svx2IV866Ok  Live at SXSM.  Probably the highlight of last night's show too.   A perfect mix of guitar and percussion.  The sounds that emit from Jimmy "Cobra" Carbonetti's are unlike any I have heard in recent memory.  Bassist Jeff Berrall stands out as well with his fierce and energetic play.   The crowd in this clip is a touch lame...  but yellow shirt guy is on the bandwagon with me.  You cannot fully appreciate the last 60 seconds of this clip until you are standing 5 feet away from it.  It is what sucked me in and made 2 fast fans last night in my friend and sister.  To accomplish such a controlled mix of chaos and melody in such a short life span for this band is most impressive.  Some bands wait a lifetime to make such sound.  Others never accomplish it at all.


"Thankful" also has am ethereal sound that both gets you out of your seat and puts you in a trance:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3qG0ybmOMI&feature=related


"I got no time on my hands, I mean to a degree" sings Matthew Iwanusa.  His voice soft is both soft and commanding.  The piano fills (Sam Hopkins) and precise/lighting fast drumming (Stefan Marolachakis) add incredible texture to the proceedings.


"December 28th" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43HjWYyQyPU  Taken from an April, 2011 Bowery show.  Not supreme quality for sure, but the bassline is worth it alone.  Soothing and sweet.


"Decide"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxxOIwPF8qM&feature=related  Fast paced and groovy stuff here.  The transition they make from dissonant post-modern material to pop/tribal/surf is worth noting.  You can't stop the groove, only hope to contain it.


Get it yet?  This is a band with a bright future.  I am but one person but damn it I am gonna shout it from the rooftops.  


Their release is available on Itunes and Spotify so go grab it.  I would expect many more tour dates in the near future and recommend strongly you attend.   




Lower East Side:  A look-back


There is talk that maybe I should run an excursion/bus tour for events like last night.  How much woudl people pay to see a different town or neighborhood/eat/shop/see a concert/and head back home.  I would buy an 8 seat van like Scooby Doo and retrofit it with seats.  Picture a lounge on wheels if you like.  Take all the white folk here in town out of their comfort zone for a while.  


Last night's itinerary would have been:  leave town @ 7:30 and arrive on Lower East Side around 8:30.  Park at garage close to venue and walk around for a bit.   Shoe shopping was had for the ladies and then a stop at Teany (https://www.teany.com/) for dinner.  Moby opened this veggie/vegan place almost 10 years ago on Rivington St.  When we end up in this part of town we tend to end up there.  We shared some small plates and "cheesecakes" and enjoyed it once again.  The Chocolate Maccaron/ Earl Grey Teaacchini/Crostini plate were among the highlights.  Turns out I can go through dinner without eating red meat.  Who knew?


Although, after the show I was still hungry so the (2) slices and zeppoli from Ray's (http://www.facebook.com/pages/FAMOUS-ORIGINAL-RAYS-PIZZA/125109203044) hit the spot.   A) It was great to read up about the endless debate about which Ray's came first?  Do they all have Famous or Original in the title?  B)  The pizza and pastry were strong.  I think I was in my right mind enough to discern its quality too.  C)  So funny to see the place hopping close to 1am.  The life of the City that late is so different and kinetic.  And each neighborhood has its own distinct quality.  If you come out of Bowery, or Fillmore, or Webster Hall, the feel of each spot is very different.  And they are all located within about 20 blocks.  


And Mercury Lounge (http://www.mercuryloungenyc.com/) is a real gem.  I had never been there and can safely report that it is SMALL.  Ironic that we ate at Teany prior to this venue.  It was tiny night.  The bartender was first rate and they pour Guinness.  There are several cushioned benches for those hobbled or otherwise inclined to sit.  And it can't hold more than 250 people.  It is a special place, but maybe too small for the sound Caveman put out.  Webster Hall or Williamsburg would be a great fit for them.  I think A Civil Twilight (3 members) would be brilliant at Mercury Lounge.  There were some pops in the speakers last night.


Chaffeur guided the crew outta town after pizza and I am pretty sure I was in bed by 1:30am.


Would you pay 3 bills for that night?


I'm listening.


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