Cold Cave, the darkwave brainchild of musician Wesley Eisold, sounds like a throwback, combining the influences of the heyday of Factory Records with the synth industrial of bands like Nine Inch Nails. The band released its most recent proper album, Cherish the Light Years, on Matador Records in 2011, but since that time has been fairly reclusive, releasing only a handful of singles (as well as a compilation album, Full Cold Moon, in 2014). Despite this, the band recently embarked on a tour, which included a stop in DC at the Rock and Roll Hotel last week.
For this show, Eisold was flanked at the back of the stage by dual keyboards, played by long-time collaborator Amy Lee on his right and enigmatic author Max G. Morton on his left. Morton’s presence for this tour was particularly fortuitous, as it provided the band the opportunity to play the rarely-played-live “Heavenly Metals” (from the 2009 compilation Cremations) on which Morton performs spoken-word vocals. Eisold, for his part, paced the dimly-lit stage menacingly, sometimes planting himself behind the microphone stand but also often getting right up in the audience’s faces.
With no new material to promote, the band played more of a “greatest hits” set, starting with the title track of their debut, 2009’s Love Comes Close. Much of the set list came from Cherish the Light Years, including “Icons of Summer,” “Villains of the Moon,” “The Great Pan Is Dead, and “Catacombs.” The a-sides of both of the band’s 2016 singles, “Nothing Is True But You” and “The Idea of Love,” were represented as well, but anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of where the band is headed next was disappointed, as the band stuck entirely to previously-released songs.
Los Angeles post-punk band Drab Majesty opened the show, playing songs from their recently released album The Demonstration.