The top three things I loved about seeing the Cave Singers at the Capitol Hill Block Party…
- Substantiating the hype. I must confess I was skeptical of a band that rose from obscurity to a Matador signing that played Appalachian rock and boasted a member of the now defunct Pretty Girls Make Graves. Sure I'd heard great things about the Cave Singers, but was this really what the kids were into?
Now, having seen them live, I get it. Through the steamy hot haze of the packed non-air conditioned Neumo's, I heard not a simple folksie band, but one with tribal sensibilities and a dark underbelly, a band that simultaneously reminded me of elements of 16 Horsepower and Sons and Daughters and the Bad Seeds, and yet preserved a sound all its own. No one sounds quite like Cave Singers, and that's a rare thing to find. That said, I found their set got a bit samey by the end… but I did like the sound they made, especially on the more percussive songs that brought in shakers and a washboard to the mix.
Placing the voice. I think I've got the formula to describe frontman Peter Quirk's nearly indescribably odd yet lovely wharble. It's Greg Gilbert from Delays (aka Stevie Nicks by proxy) meets Janis Joplin meets whiskey and grits with butter and salt (not sugar) for supper. Stir it all up with heartbreak and strange hope and you're getting close.
Knowing Grand Archives were playing next. What a super sweet back-to-back lineup that was!