Show Review: Caveman, Carletta Sue Kay at Brick and Mortar Music Hall, 12/11/11

by Dakin Hardwick on December 19, 2011

All photos by Drew Beck

I’d like to say this review was brought to you by Spotify. It’s not. They are not a sponsor on SpinningPlatters. But I like it. What I really like about it is the fact that they post what you are listening to on Facebook. That’s how I found Caveman.  One of my coworkers at my day job, a person whose taste in music is pretty combatible with my own, was listening to this band a lot. So, of course I had to listen. And, well, my Spotifstalking paid off, because it was quite good. Even better was that I had an opportunity to see them live shortly after learning about them. For more on that, well, JUMP!

Carletta Sue Kay opened the show with a 30 minute set of some of the most interesting music I’ve heard in  long time. They were very simple: a guitarist and a singer. I’m not sure if this is a band, or the name of the androgynous lead vocalist, but nonetheless it was very impressive. The vocals were pristine, emotional, and intense. The songs were somewhere between Rufus Wainwright, T. Rex, and Steven Sondheim. The performance was very low key, and there was nothing going on onstage that was unnecessary, and the set was all the better for it.

Caveman were the polar opposite of Carletta Sue Kay. Where Sue Kay went for simple arrangements, Caveman are lush and complex. Their songs are big and lush. They have stunning three part harmonies that only intensify the swirling psychedelic rock. They opened with the majestic  groovy headtrip of “Old Friend.” They took that straight into a song called “December 28th,” a piece that sounded like The Cure’s “Lovecats” on acid.

One of the great things about this band’s live set is that they spend very little time between songs. Many pieces even segued straight into each other. Lead vocalist Matthew Iwanusa kept the banter short and simple, and rarely detracted from the over all head swimmy journey of the evening.

About halfway through the set, they played “My Time,” whose steady, nearly disco inspired groove got the late Sunday night crowd dancing. The took that straight into the noisy “Decide” before moving that into the psychedelic rave up of “Great Life.” The vintage Korg keyboard kept this three song piece together.

This was NYC’s Caveman’s first very trip the west coast, and they were a fun show. Hopefully they will come back around many more times…

Please go to to see more amazing photos by this gifted photographer.

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