I had been drinking. Just a bit. (Side note: I’m of legal drinking age, was not driving, had a buddy, etc. etc. Please enjoy responsibly.) But it was enough to make the coincidental presence of two long-lost exs in the Paradise’s pit that night more than overwhelming.
Caveman took the stage between first openers Junebug Spade and main men Built to Spill at the same moment of my interaction with Ex Number Two. And it was this moment that my state of emotional distractions made Caveman fall into the role of poignant background music to the night’s proceedings.
This is in no way to say I didn’t pay attention; Caveman demanded that you whip your neck in their direction as soon as singer Matthew Iwanusa took a breath from the mic and slammed his sticks to his drum with furious precision, layering their rhythms Mute Math style. Caveman’s set played off the band’s first record CoCo Beware, tactfully avoiding the annoyance of overbearing synths, complimenting their psychedelic hints with repetitive guitar riffs and percussion that often takes over with its own pulse – “Great Life” soaked the air so densely that it seemed not a single fan in the crowd could even move.
But the fact is, no one goes to a show like Caveman’s without thinking of a past relationship (guys, this goes for you too). We’ve all been there, refusing to listen to a song or a band or a whole genre because it’s essentially a soundtrack to the happy times with your last boyfriend/girlfriend, now smashed to smithereens.
Caveman’s ability to force that forbidden music in your face, and to pull the crowd in between feeling crushed about your pathetic life and realizing you’re going to be fine so chill-the-eff-out, also happened to come with the band’s ability to take pensive MySpace tracks on stage and explode life into them. If you’re going to look into Caveman, know that the band’s online presence doesn’t compare to the size of their music live; just be prepared to feel feelings.
Photo Credit: Carolyn Vallejo