In this day and age, it’s hard to go to a concert without knowing anything about the band. Almost without trying you can find interviews, live footage, buzz, and backlash.
That’s why it was such a pleasure to attend the Cave Singers at the Great American Music Hall last Thursday and have it be a surprise. I had heard the band on one of my favorite radio programs over at KEXP, The Roadhouse. They play a loose, folky rock that sounds somewhere between Josh Ritter and the Avett Brothers. I had listened to and enjoyed their albums but managed to keep in the dark about what kind of band they were.
The last time I had been to the GAMH was some time in 2006, when a friend and I got passes through our college paper. I had forgotten what a beautiful stage it was (also how awesome tables and chairs are; yes, I am old). The opening opening act, I won’t write anything about, claiming that age-old journalistic excuse of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
The second opening band Lia Ices played a fantastic set, Florence & the Machine/slash/Bjork-y/slash/Vashti Bunyan. It was sweeping, intense folk music helmed by a gorgeous woman who I believe pulled off a lavender floor-length romper. (Her guitarist was wearing a denim, Ghostbusters-style worksuit. Maybe that was the outfit requirement for that show). A very welcome surprise.
Then the Cave Singers came out, playing a bluesier version of “At the Cut” than I had expected. The energy kind of went up and down from the more rollicking numbers to jams like “Outer Realms,” which was too much of a raga for me. I was won over by the lovely “Beach House,” which sounds even more haunting live. A really solid show by a band who I’m excited to hear more from in the future.