The first time I was able to catch Cold Cave play live, it was at the 2016 Beach Goth festival in Santa Ana, California. It was under less-than-desirable circumstances, in the middle of an afternoon of too-hot-for-October weather, but like true showman, Cold Cave came out to perform decked out in black leather. I was impressed by their stamina, but unfortunately due to the setting, I couldn’t fully enjoy the dark clothed, dark wave, synth pop band at the time.
Fast forward to Jan. 12 at the Bunkhouse Saloon in Vegas, and I was about to see Cold Cave again, under much different circumstances of 47 degree weather. DJ Allen warmed up the crowd, setting the mood with a mix of postindustrial and punk. As the hand of the clock hit 11 p.m., Drab Majesty, a two piece band, hit the stage in face paint, surrounded by miniature Greek statues. Fifteen minutes into their set, with the venue completely shrouded in fog, they’d gained new fans in Las Vegas with their shoegaze sound and excellent stage presence.
With little to no introduction, just the loud thump of bass serving as notice, Cold Cave took the stage around midnight. To a sold out house, they begin their set with “Love Comes Close,” and almost instantly the venue became warm from the crowd’s body heat. Frontman Wesley Eisold, clad in signature all black and leather jacket, never seemed to show any sign of stopping, and barely stopped to breathe between songs. One song after another, I stood there impressed, thinking “these guys are machines” but, after being in American Nightmare, Give Up the Ghost, and Some Girls, perhaps you’re just built for this type of stage presence? Cold Cave wrapped up their set with “Villains of the Moon” in a now sauna of a venue. As a relatively new listener, I left a fan, and with the impression that this band really has true showmanship.