Pitchfork Music Festival: Cold Cave on a hot day

SHARE Pitchfork Music Festival: Cold Cave on a hot day

One thing I never thought I’d get at a Cold Cave show: a sunburn.

There was the New York darkwave trio, all pale and wrapped in black leather (pleather?), defiant in the fierce Saturday afternoon sun early on day two of the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival. I would have welcomed an environmental catastrophe that would’ve blacked out the sun and plunged these moody bastards into the dark where they belong, but the contrast emboldened their presentation.

At heart, Cold Wave takes mid-’80s synth pop (New Order, OMD) and moves it forward — just beyond the reach of nostalgia. Their most successful tactic for doing so: scratching it up, getting it dirty, just around the edges. Nearly every song started with a wall of harsh sound — a piercing electronic whine, blaring white noise, glitchy static — from which would suddenly spring bouncy, flouncy keyboards, courtesy Dominick Fernow (Prurient from Madison, Wis.), and pounding beats. Before launching into “Ive Seen the Future and It’s No Place for Me,” singer Wesley Eisold simply hissed into the microphone at length, satisfying a compulsion to begin every song with amelodic clatter of some sort. Like Cold Cave’s album, “Cherish the Light Years,” it was noise vs. melody, brashness vs. shyness, a singer using the word “outside” a lot when he probably didn’t intend it so literally today.

Eisold hangs on the microphone and pouts (very Ian McCulloch), blurts out in his tuneless baritone (very Peter Murphy), sometimes pulling the neck of his T-shirt off his shoulder to show off his ink; during “Confetti,” he pointed to a large “23” on his left shoulder. Meanwhile, Fernow could barely contain himself behind his decks, occasionally breaking free during a loop to dance about the stage with the most inspiring and embarrassing moves.

— Read our complete Pitchfork report

— Follow @chicagosmusic

The Latest
Officers were responding to a ShotSpotter call when they found the woman unresponsive in an alley in the 7900 block of South Vincennes Avenue.
Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson have strong ties to public education — and very different plans for Chicago Public Schools.
In one of the robberies Wednesday, a customer’s Jeep was carjacked. Police have not said if the robberies are linked. No injuries have been reported.
Saturday will be the irregular convergence of three opening days in fishing: the start of Illinois’ spring inland trout season, the reopening of fishing at Heidecke Lake (good prospects) and the start of that Chicago tradion, smelt netting (not much hope).
Man worries that he can’t live up to her many previous partners.