LIVE: Cold Cave / Drab Majesty @ O2 Academy, Islington

By Glen Bushell

Whether he would admit it or not, Wesley Eisold has become an icon within underground music. The influence of his music, be that with American Nightmare, Some Girls, or even his written work, has inspired countless artists. It is, however, with Cold Cave where Eisold looks and feels most at home. The brooding nature of the music matches the introspective melancholy of his beautifully articulated words.

The show tonight marks the start of a near three month long tour for Cold Cave, now back to a three piece with Amy Lee and Max G. Morton manipulating the sound behind Eisold. The venue feels somewhat cavernous for this one-off UK performance, but as the room begins to fill and the anticipation builds, it begins to gain the intimacy you expect from such an artist.

Before Cold Cave arrive, Californian darkwave duo Drab Majesty opening up proceedings. Appearing on stage like beings from another world and carried by the enigmatic Deb Demure, the dreamy, lush textures of their work swells around the room. The set is pulled largely from their latest album, ‘The Demonstration’, with the ‘80s influenced ‘Too Soon To Tell’ coming to life and ’39 By Design’ built around layers of warm synths. They are enchanting to watch, and half an hour in their presence doesn’t feel long enough.

Shrouded by darkness for the majority of their set, save for minimal visual and lights, Cold Cave cast a dark shadow across the room. They draw from every corner of their vast catalogue, opting to kick things off with the incandescent beauty of ‘Love Comes Close’. Their sound is heavily rooted in post-punk and synthwave, with violent bursts of power electronics during ‘Icons of Summer’, moving into poetic glory when Morton takes the lead for the haunting ‘Heavenly Metals’.

Eisold barely keeps still for the duration of the set, losing himself among pounding 808s washed with the textured soundscapes of ‘A Little Death To Laugh’, or the driving, much more rhythmic ‘Confetti’ and ‘People Are Poison’. The diversity in Cold Cave’s sound is what keeps the show interesting. There is much more to them then your average electronic band, when you put that with the love-filled narrative of ‘Nothing Is True But You’ and ‘Heaven Was Full’ they are intoxicating.

This was a rare headline show from Cold Cave on our side of the Atlantic, and it proved to be a very special evening. With a consistent release scheduled of singles, and rumours of a new full length still circulating from time to time, hopefully they won’t leave it so long before they return.