Caveman launched the night at Webster Hall with their first hit “Thankful”. The lilting tune off their debut album Coco Beware found its way onto the music scene a few years ago, but it seems to express exactly how the band is feeling these days. Their self-titled sophomore album is out, gaining traction in the indie world and beyond, as they put the finishing touches on a well-received tour. Singer Matt Iwanusa showered the audience with thanks between songs, even describing them electric, and gave a shout out to his father for making the drive to see the show. Plus the group on stage clearly demonstrated an appreciation of each other’s talents, as they organically weaved through a set list of old and new songs. The band’s wall of sound, featuring saturated layers of guitar reverb, keyboards and percussion, opened up and let loose, while a black grid on the back wall projected colorful graphic patterns to play off the beams of saturated color and strobe lights.
“A Country’s King of Dreams” was introduced as Caveman’s very first song for their first album, yet the group dug in with a confidence brought on by the ample touring since then. Other older songs, “My Time”, “Great Life”, and “December 28th” were embedded with an emotional intensity of live performance, as supple arrangements made way for individual embellishments. Some of the new songs were also road tested before the release, and the soaring single “In the City”, a tribute to their life in town, provided the perfect highlight. In his polka dot shirt and bright red pants, Iwanusa joggled between playing guitar and a floor tom, waving the sticks in the air to stir up the crowd. When it came to the softer focus of “Over My Head” however, he was allowed to play the role of a traditional crooner, microphone in hand. Iwanusa has clearly learned to expand his vocal range as his voice veered into soulful surges of emotion. The night concluded with blasts of distortions in “Where’s the Time”, a wistful lament over busy schedules—a sentiment that looks like it is something the band will continue to deal with well into the future.