Tag Archives: Cold Cave

The rain did not stop fans in seeing Cold Cave and front man Wesley Eisold at Slim’s last Friday.Photo by Nichole Rosanova/Foghorn

Cold Cave Chills

East coast band carries on the rainstorm into SF

     I remember the first time I heard Cold Cave like I remember the first time every one of my beloved music idols touched my heart. Struggling with a self-portrait alongside my friend, in the otherwise empty art room of our high school, “Love Comes Close” exited the small speaker of his iPod, and the room suddenly began to fill with the hazy fog that was my lust.  Since that moment, founder Wesley Eisold has been on my mind.

The darkwave synth-pop sounds of Cold Cave have always been a guilty pleasure of mine.  With lyrics that exude teenage angst, it is not for the tame of heart.  Eisold sounds like what would be the deadly combination if Joy Division and Depeche Mode were to meet and have a musical love child.  My dad has snidely described Cold Cave as being very “alternative.”  This only feeds my desire for his sound.  Eisold is like rich, dark chocolate.  It hits the spot, it’s exactly what you were looking for, and despite the calories, you can’t seem to stop yourself from reaching for more.

I listen to Cold Cave when it’s raining and when I am consumed by overwhelming feelings. So when I heard that he would be performing at Slim’s last Friday, in addition to the news of a possible heavy rainstorm, I just couldn’t help myself.

A white projector screen, serving as a makeshift curtain, temporarily blocked the view of the stage as Cold Cave set up and sound checked.  Audience members became dazed by the displaying psychedelic images. Finally, the screen slowly rose, revealing the man of the night. Eisold stood before us, with his hand—garnished with heavy silver rings—defiantly placed on his hip.  A long, oversized black raincoat hung over his shoulders.  Loose fitting leather pants creased to the stomping of his feet as the bass of “Burning Sage” boomed over the speakers.  This song is by far the darkest track on his album “Cherish the Light Years,” and most of the audience members stood stupefied by his opening song, while others chanted hypnotically to his lyrics.  “I’ve been breathing with my lung. Black lung. I’ve been staring at the sun.  Black Sun.”

My friend, who seemed as equally confused, looked over at me and simply said “So twee,” (Slang term to describe English pop music, nauseatingly precious) ironically describing the essence of Cold Cave that appeared before us. Despite the fact that I was counting down the seconds until the next song, I washed the distaste out of my mouth with the conclusion that since I’ve moved to San Francisco, I’ve become happier, and thus could not connect with his opening.  I still had hope that my love would not disappoint.

Following his dark anthem, he quickly transitioned into songs like “Confetti,” and “Icons of Summer.” Regardless of his punk spirit, Cold Cave had the power to connect with every person in the room.  With one hand on his hip, and the other clenched in a fist reaching out towards the crowd, he had the audience in the palm of his hand.  All eyes were on him.

Like all idols, Cold Cave is untouchable and all-powerful.  The first time he spoke to the audience, with the simple statement of “I hope you’re enjoying your Noise Pop experience,” the crowd erupted with cheers and began to dance even harder.  Kneeling at the end of the stage while he belted out “Underworld USA,” he was close enough to smell.  Screaming girls and boys reached for him.  They could’ve pulled out a lock of his hair.  But no one dared touch him.  It was quite a bizarre display.

My night at Slim’s only fueled my continuing love for Cold Cave.  If it’s raining, and you see me walking around campus plugged in—obviously entranced—just know that I’m having a moment with my musical lover that is Wesley Eisold.


Cold Cave, an emerging dark wave act, played a short set that included songs, “Love Comes Close” and “Youth And Lust” at The Knockout in the Mission district Monday Sept. 7. Caralee McElroy who left Oakland band Xui Xui in May and mouth piece Wesley Eisold of now defunct hard-core project Give Up The Ghost, are unlikely composers of rusty axe-cut synth glitter that explodes on summer LP “Love Comes Close.” Explained by McElroy, the band’s title is a reference to the frigid experience of writing music in a Philadelphia apartment during winter months.

The Joy Division nostalgia flag soared high in the tight space where the only light is a faint red and the soles of your shoes stick to the congealed whisky. Every other head was armored in colorless Bauhaus or Alien Sex Fiend t-shirts. Standing in between an androgynous girl wearing a “Substance” Joy Division tee and a sickly looking youth wearing a “Love Will Tear Us Apart” Joy Division cut-off, I was the hot blush felt by teens showing up at the prom wearing the same dress. I was the bent metal and clumping smoke of two ambulances melded together with the marriage of a head on collision. Whispers in the pre-opening song darkness begged the answer of who would accompany Eisold and McElroy onstage.

A grumpy brunette surfaced to sound check a classic Fender Jaguar. Returning a moment later, Sarah Lipstate, the newest addition to Cold Cave ornamented “Cebe and Me” and “Love Comes Close” providing contrasted thick treble to Wes Eisold’s haunted throat. The group played in a naked structure by placing all instruments and members in a straight line with equal distance from the crowd. I scanned the lineage for a playback machine or a Macintosh laptop and found none.

Brought on by friend McElroy, Sarah Lipstate has been touring with Cold Cave this summer playing guitar and keyboard. After the set I tried to make sense of her laughter — the response given to qualifying Cold Cave in terms of genre. Attempting to recover from the piercing non-answer I asked about the pressures of being compared to Joy Division but recoiled into my own hot cheeks wishing I could retract my daft officiousness. “Let’s back up,” I tell myself. “Is there a future for dance and rock music, together I mean?” “Of course!” A smile is drawn and she folds her arms and leans back with animated assurance.

New York wonder band Parts and Labor released a 51-track, 29- minute album called “Receivers” with Lipstate before she left in July of 2009. Even further from two-stepping though comes Noveller, Lipstate’s Brooklyn birthed side project that involves the torturing of a double-neck SG with a violin bow and various foot pedals. Sarah is currently writing new tracks with Cold Cave as the group returns to the east coast this fall to play in Brooklyn and Boston with Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Junior.