First my apologies for taking so long to get this review up. Last weekend was very busy for me and I didn’t have a lot of time near a computer to put up reviews. While for many people in Columbia last weekend was memorable for Mizzou squashing Texas like a bug (17-5) for music fans it was likely they may have been among the packed crowd at the November 13th show at Mojo’s to see Cave.
First to play was locals Hott Lunch, who have been getting a bit of word of mouth from the underground. Expanding to a quartet, the band have brought a more psychedelic and hard rock leaning to their music with hard driving guitar hooks, a fair amount of garage rock organ and a lot of hooks. To put it mildly, these guys deliver one of the best rock shows in town. Unfortunately short (a necessarily thing with a four band bill), the band kicked out the jams in about six songs to reveal one of this town’s better bands. It’s been interesting to see Hott Lunch evolve and I’m curious to where their muse will lead them next.
Jerusalem and the Starbaskets came up next and took things in a direction that’s similar, yet markedly different. As when I saw them in St. Louis last month, they still have the trio format. Musically, they continue to create a melodic sound where vintage acid fried country rock meets noise laden alt rock, walking a thin line between punk, indie, and folk in the process. This band has always followed its own muse, sometimes too freaky for melodic crowds, sometimes too melodic for freak folk fans. However, its that unique vision that creates such interesting music and makes every show they do one worth checking out.
Had no clue what Running would be like only to find myself picking my jaw off the floor. These guys unleashed some pure hardcore punk with hints of noise woven in. Loud, fast, and in your face, each song came off like a grenade, coming off like a missing link between mid period Black Flag and No Means No. Ferocious and uncompromising, Running is one of those bands that was like nothing else on the bill yet fit perfectly somehow. Wish they’d come through here more often.
A short time after Running left the stage the crowd grew thick adn slightly restless waiting for Cave to come up and play. THe formerly local quartet was ready to decimate, diving into a set of mainly instrumental space rock built on drones and repetition with some near Kraut rock influences thrown into the aural mix. Along the way, the band filtered in influences ranging from pschedelic rock to jazz-funk to pure space music. Within their lengthy compositions the crowd reaches a slightly hypnotic feel, dancing along as the drones and chords build simemringly to a cresecndo. While Cave have moved somewhat away from their local noise punk origins, the abdn has honed its hooks into a sonic machine that slowly lures the listener in until they succumb. Their live shows are something that requires witnessing to truly understand what they’re about.
Once the show was over and people slowly began to filter out towards parties or whatever, a couple thoughts crossed my mind. First, this had to be the largest crowd I’d ever seen for a Cavge show in the yearsw I’ve seen them. Also, three quarters of the band either are or were local (running being the sole exception) though I wonder if anyone knew Cave came from here originally given this city’s antipathy towards local music way too much of the time. Also, this turned out to be one of those nights that call to mind what Columbia can be (and has had glimpses of in the past). This was going to be the start of a busy weekend for me but one where the live shows kept my interest and made me wonder what was ahead as well as think of new ideas to create on my own. This was an interesting night.