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.