If you were expecting a traditional show, Cold Cave’s show at the Luminary Center for the Arts was probably a bit of a head scratcher. As well, it was a great show you’d likely remember for some time.
Walking into the venue elicited a lot of “what the heck?” reactions with piles of newspaper, ladders and massive paper-mache heads on the floor and a team of poncho (or trash bag) adorned staff congregating off to the side. Soon enough the crowd found itself witnessing a mildly of Montreal-esque performance by local band Half Gay. At the epicenter, a duo laid out hyperspace-sounding drums and synths. Around them, various members had their own role during the show, ranging from one-man dance machine sporting a monster paper mache head to tying string between a ladder and nearby podium. Apparently we were supposed to dance along, but most stood still trying to take in the totality of what was going on.
Née was up next and I was pretty jazzed to catch her electro-pop songs again after enjoying her opening for Class Actress and spending some time with her EP The Hands of Thieves. The first half of the set was admittedly bumpy as the duo kept running into technical problems, but they finished strong with the Half Gay crew helping to make it party time up front. And who would have expected the cover of Vengaboys at the end? If you’re still curious to check out Née (and if not, why aren’t you?), head out to the Neon Indian / Asobi Seksu show at the Firebird in early June where they’ll be opening.
Knowing Cold Cave played dark synth pop and seeing them take the stage in black attire, I admit I expected the NY/Philly group to be detached during their performance. I was so wrong. Dominic Fernow stomped around his electro gadget setup with enough energy to match the industrial beats set forth, while vocalist Wesley Eisold used the limited stage space like a seasoned star, even descending into the (awkwardly grabby) crowd without flinching. It was an unusually short seven song set, but they’ll be back in August (at the Firebird) if you couldn’t get enough. That gives me a little time to check out their latest release, Cherish the Light Years (Matador).
Photo Notes: Oh boy. The Luminary normally skews on the darker side of lighting, but the Cold Cave and Half Gay sets were especially challenging. Half Gay requested a strobe effect, which slightly lit up the musicians but left most of their performance crew in darkness. Being such a visual band, I hope to shoot Half Gay with more lighting next time. Cold Cave pretty much played in the dark, being a struggle even at F1.4 and with Eisold right in front of me. A F1.4 lens can pull out a lot of light, but this night was certainly pushing it. Née had the best lighting (relatively), so with that I made drummer Mic Boshans my priority since I didn’t take much of him during my last shoot.
-What do you think the best/worst role is on the Half Gay performance team? Best? The guy with the sun paper-mache head sitting in the chair gets my vote for the best, since he gets to sit the whole time and nod along. Worst? I’d say the girl who had to stand still the entire set while getting newspaper taped to her head.
-Who was worried that Eisold was going to accidentally tear the Luminary’s projector screen? (Hand raised.)
-The next Post-Performance show was announced that evening. High Places on August 20th. Very excited.