It was a pretty dreadful start to the night. The weather was horrendous and I was already late for Kathryn Calder’s set. Unfortunately I only caught three songs but what I did get to hear I was a big fan of. I knew Calder from her work with the New Pornographers and while you could hear a bit of that sound to her voice, it still stood apart from those works as a distinct solo sound. I can’t really give a full run-down of the set because I was so late but Calder is a lovely singer and even though the crowd was small, she at least got some peoples’ attention, getting them right up front. Unfortunately everyone else was yelling to each other so it sound like a cacophony of voices until the band kicked in and the sound drowned out a sea of voices.
People still weren’t very considerate for The Cave Singers but at least more people paid attention, forcing their traps shut. ‘Leap’ (Welcome Joy) is a great song to open up with and give you a taste of the indie folk sound of the band. Marty Lund on the drums was chugging away, Derek Fudesco’s fingers were flying as they picked across his guitar, and Pete Quirk pulled out his harmonica to blast away on. ‘Clever Creatures’ from their excellent No Witch album had Quirk on the guitar now and the band kept up its strong pace. ‘Summer Light’ and ‘At The Cut’ were two more strong songs from Welcome Joy, with the latter being one of my favourite songs by the band. The country-blues guitar in ‘At The Cut’ scratches an itch that I normally don’t have relieved.
The band’s newest album was Naomi from a couple years ago, and ‘It’s A Crime’ was the first song they played off the album. It was another bluesy song, which I think the band pulls off great. Quirk’s scratchy voice compliments Fudesco’s guitar playing perfectly. The next two songs were also from the newest album, as I didn’t recognize them but Quirk had just commented on how the new songs weren’t quite their forte while playing live. Though if I’m wrong, I’d love to give some credit to those tracks (not that I wouldn’t if I were right).
‘Helen’ is from the first album Invitation Songs and as the song warms up, you can’t help but continue to admire Fudesco’s fortitude in picking away on the guitar. Then you get songs like my absolute favourite by the band, ‘Dancing On Our Graves’ (Invitation Songs). Lund had left the stage for ‘Helen’ but came back with a washboard for this toe-tappin’ song. It’s a simple percussion beat but mixing it with Fudesco’s guitar licks and Quirk’s singing, it was enough to make me go to the show in the first place.
Two more from No Witch, ‘Swim Club’ and ‘Haller Lake’ came with Quirk using some kind of melodica for ‘Haller Lake’. Then came another song that I didn’t catch any usable hints for, just before the final song of the set ‘Black Leaf’ also from No Witch. Though I’ve been praising Fudesco’s playing pretty frequently through this fairly short piece, he just killed it with this song, making it a real contender for my favourite song of the night.
For an encore, we got three songs; the first one I missed, and then ‘All Crabs And Divinity Ghosts’ and ‘No Prosecution If We Bail’. ‘All Crabs…’ is a bizarre song title but a fairly strong song and choosing ‘No Prosecution…’ to end the night with was a great choice. Another great bluesy song to take home with us.
The show had a solid line-up of artists and The Cave Singers picked out a strong setlist for themselves (even if I missed what a couple of the songs were). Like I say, I can’t really comment on Calder, other than the fact that I loved what I heard but The Cave singers made sure to get into things as they played, making it that much more interesting. While Fudesco would strum wildly on guitar, Quirk liked to show off his awkward dad-dancing which you couldn’t help but fall in love with, just a little. This is the second time that the Cave Singers have come along in a short period, so if you love indie folk with more than a big of country/blues mixed in, the band puts on a great show and this’d definitely be for you.