The Cave Singers, Modified, 5/17/08

About three-quarters of the way through the Cave Singers’ show on Saturday night at Modified, I realized the band was without any sort of bass instrument. That wouldn’t be such a stunning revelation if the trio’s outstanding rhythm hadn’t already held me captive for about 30 minutes.

That’s probably a credit to the guitar playing of Derek Fudesco, whose finger-picking style manages to cover both lead and rhythm roles.

If I was a casual fan of the band’s debut Invitation Songs (get it at eMusic), the live show – with its vibrant energy – has pushed me into full fan mode. (Already I’ve downloaded the Daytrotter session and two B-sides at eMusic.)

Chad Sundin of Phoenix band the Via Maris made a great observation after the show: The Cave Singers put to use simple objects in entertaining ways. Like, say, singer Pete Quirk beating a maraca on a stool for added percussion punch on Dancing on Our Graves. (Never mind Quirk’s distinct and surprisingly warm/powerful nasal-inflected vocal style.)

While modern folk-rock heads into more abstract – and sometimes complicated – territory with the Yeasayers of the world, the Cave Singers insist there be something to hold onto, usually in the form of an infectious shuffle-stomp rhythm.

It might be true of 95 percent of bands, but a live setting is the best way to appreciate the Cave Singers’ appeal, to see the multiple parts at work in unison. I’m glad to say I’ve good reason to resurrect Invitation Songs for closer examination.

One thought on “The Cave Singers, Modified, 5/17/08”

  1. great show at Modified last night, I was the kid in white sitting near the front of the stage all night. and actually, Derek had bass pedals in front of him that he was playing along with all night! but I do agree, his guitar playing could more than make up for the lack of instrumentation, & does in many ways.

    nik

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