Live Review: cave, zach and lebotz, dj willows

cave, zach and lebotz,
dj willows
oct. 9, 2013 • the skakedown

Picture the chaos of a busy city block. Cars flying by each other, motorbikes buzzing past, people walking here and there, elements in motion. The subjects may be moving at different speeds and traveling to separate places, but from a still perspective, an unexpected and unexplainable rhythm occurs; a waiter with an over packed dish tray narrowly avoids a patron pushing back his chair, a pedestrian weaves around a car stalled at a red light. In the midst of seemingly unconnected events, each individual element finds its own path.
Cave, a Chicago psych rock band (if you dare simplify it to that) achieves a similar effect. By differing rhythms and sounds in both time and melody, Cave somehow fashions a sound both hypnotic and enthralling. Avoiding disaster, each musical element wraps around another, growing, pulsing, and creating an obvious path and truly fantastic performance.
Cave, who played the Shakedown on Oct. 10 as part of the Fire on the Bay Psych Fest, achieves musical fluidness sought in styles such as kraut-rock and aftrobeat. Creating a masterpiece of intermixing sounds and rhythms, in which the bright red brush strokes of sweeping guitar solos move across an auditory canvas, Cave’s seemingly simplistic psych rock sound transforms into a mix of genre-borrowing anthems.
Cave draws its influence from the likes of kraut-rock greats such as Can and Neu!, and the repetitive and pulsing French rhythms of Stereolab. Vinyl junkies who dig for records from Wooden Shjips and Lumerians can also be found with their fingerprints on Cave’s three full-length LP’s.
The band’s earliest material under the name Cave, which made up the album Psychic Psummer (this album is no longer pressed) contained brash and sudden sounds with thickly echoed and distorted vocals common in many noise/psychedelia projects, and clearly showed the musical capabilities of the individual musicians of Cave. However, their newest record “Threace,” which the band played in its entirety at the Shakedown, exemplifies their ability to communicate with one another and create a cohesive sound, emphasizing the group. This new sound shows a group cohesion and conceptual actualization befitting to a band of this stature and maturity.
The beauty of Cave’s set can most absolutely be found in their ability to swell emotion and build sensation through persistent repetition. This is also where Cave’s hypnotic wonder lies. Hypnosis happens through repetition. Cave, through constant rolling drums and darkly syncopated sounds, varying only slightly every dozen measures or so, draws the listener across the line of hypnosis into the insane, baffled and giddy.
Playing to a half empty bar the Cave is nothing but stoic on stage. Though what they offer is sheer brilliance the guys in Cave loaf about onstage as if perpetually in practice, smirking at inside jokes, and no doubt delighting in the music they play.
The opener for the set was Zach and Lebotz, a mostly improvisational psychedelic band made up of guitarist Zach Zinn, bassist Brendan Labotz (Falling Up Stairs), guitarist Zack VanHouten (ex-Black Beast Revival) and drummer Bill Anchor (Black Beast Revival). This band is so loud it could knock the dishes off your shelf.  Seeing this band is most closely related to the feeling of walking into a basement to a really drunken, really good jam session of extremely skilled musicians. Though, be warned, once in the basement you’ll want to grab a beer and stick around. It’s a lot more fun down there.
-Grace Moor