Turns out my drive home through snowfall around midnight last night would be the brightest part of my evening. After venturing into Country and Rap for my last two shows I got to spend a dark, moody night at the Turf Club with Cold Cave that brought me back to my musical roots and reminded me how much of the darker side of New Wave music still influences artists today.
I stumbled across the show by sheer luck. I had covered the opener Vowws a couple of years ago and added some of their songs to my playlist. Last Sunday they came up in my rotation and I got curious what the band was up to. Well, they were going to be at the Turf Club in a few days and my evening was open. As it turns out they had replaced the originally scheduled opening band last minute (Sextile apparently had just broken up), so clearly I was meant to be at the Turf Club last night.
The Aussie duo took the stage only lit by a projector sending black and white video on a screen behind them. I read an interview with Rizz where she mentioned “I think when you use the equipment that was made in that era, it’s going to sound like a lot of the bands [of that era]. There are certain drum sounds that will always sound ’80s, but it’s because of the technology. We don’t want to sound like those bands, you know? But we do,”
That got me thinking about all 3 of the bands last night. All 3 had musical connections to artists I grew up with. But they don’t just take that band’s sound and try to recreate it. It feels to me that there’s some inspiration but they build on it and our nostalgic ears connect our brains back to that era.
But I digress. Vowws instantly drew everyone’s attention to the stage. Their sound is brooding, dark, and oh so sweet. No wonder they have gotten to collaborate with artists like Gary Numan and Chino Moreno (Deftones). The lights from the projector made for some very dramatic effects well suited to their sound.
Set List: The Season / Waiting For Me / 6/4 / The Great Sun / Symbol / System / Stranger / Councillor / Losing MyselfDetroit’s Adult. Brought a change of pace and scenery. The duo of Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus has a harder more industrial sound. Kuperus commands the stage liberally using floor lights and microphone cables as props. She got a good chuckle from the crowd calling them bad ass MFers for putting up with the snow (and the band is from Detroit). And the ear nostalgia I mentioned? Adult’ probably never heard of either of them but two of my favorite singers from my teenage years came to mind: Gina X and Toyah Wilcox. Cold Cave played with a full band making their sound more complex and driving. I was not familiar with them before but loved their synthy intros (especially the one for “A Little Death To Laugh”. At its core Cold Cave is one guy: Wesley Eisold, who has been the driving force since 2007. Again my nostalgic ears brought up memories of Joy Division, Eisold’s voice has the same quality that I love about Ian Curtis’. But again, it’s your brain doing the tribute pulling bits and pieces to form a connection. Cold Cave’s sound got a bit harder, more industrial as their set progressed weaving a complex net that captured the Turf Club.
The drive home through the snow saw me smiling all the way home. A bit or darkness is good for the soul. It was a perfect show for me. Oh wait, one thing was amiss: Dear bands, please make some of your cool t-shirts in XXL. Some of us are a bit to tall for XL and midriff shirts on middle aged guys should not be a thing 🙂