Caveman: 17 May 2012 – Brooklyn Museum, New York

As part of the Audiophile series curated by Shirley Braha of MTV’s Hive’s “Weird Vibes”, Caveman appeared with NewVillager at the Brooklyn Museum on May 17. Free with museum admission, the concert was held in the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion entrance with floor to ceiling windows. This may not have been the kindest set up for acoustics, but the young arty crowd seemed game and a warm welcome was extended by the museum staff — with a reminder that the galleries would be open all night. Outside, children went by on scooters and played in the grass on this warm balmy night while traffic on the Eastern Parkway passed like a steady stream behind them.

NewVillager opened the show with their take on psychedelic pop on the small stage festooned with tie-dye flags and fabrics. (At one point a mound of fabrics grew upwards, morphing into a puppet member of the band.) The trio’s steel drum synths and jive-talking vocals introduced a world music vibe, yet its quirky meters kept anything from really taking flight.

Caveman took to stage next with night falling and people dressed in party clothes passing by the museum. Singer/frontman Matt Iwanusa said how they were happy to be at the museum, especially since they call Brooklyn home. The quintet confidently launched into their breakout hit off last year’s release CoCo Beware, “Thankful”. This allowed an easy groove into the set, which sent things directly into “Decide”. An unnamed new song was introduced as Iwanusa brought out a floor tom to add another layer of percussion. Another new song, “Where’s the Time”, also featured Iwanusa on floor tom after a building introduction with subtle, shimmering guitar by Jimmy Carbonetti. The group allowed an extended version of “Old Friend”, luxuriating in the fuzzy wall of sound breaks and sweet vocal harmonies before a bang out ending. “A Country’s King of Dreams” provided a solid encore with its melodic crooning and percussive layers over a wash of calculated distortion.