As someone who has been to a lot of Mercury Lounge shows, I was impressed by how much support local outfit Caveman got at its show last night. The crowds at Mercury are usually a lively bunch, but the harmonic fivesome brought out just an extra bit of energy from the late-show audience. Playing a show to celebrate its new record, CoCo Beware, the band hit up all 10 songs from that release as well as two others in a fast-paced 45-minute set. This was enough to please those who had made the show sell out; there was an enthusiastic group of six or so people behind me who were singing along to every word, and they weren’t the only ones.
The early highlight of the set was, well, the stage itself. Caveman dipped the venue into darkness for the first half, using only the light from a projector to provide an eerie backdrop to its swooning guitars and booming drums. CoCo Beware opener “A Country’s King Of Dreams” was the second track here, and its angelic vocal coordination sounded even more together live than it does on record. The repeating drum pattern sure didn’t hurt. Similarly, album closer “My Room,” placed halfway through here, was a standout, with lead singer Matt Iwanusa leading a chorus of oohs that got some help from the 200-plus in attendance.
However, the true highlights from the set would come from the latter half, in the form of some of the album’s best songs: “Thankful” and “Decide” complemented each other very nicely, going from the former’s chill vibes to the latter’s rock-out aesthetic. It was a warm shift that got the people moving.
The best performance of the set was “Great Life.” Recently played for Yours Truly, the song is a gorgeous piece of music, with simple lyrics combining with a clean guitar and those familiar drums. With the set doused in reds and light blues from the projector, it carried the band to a higher level. Set closer duo “Vampirer” and “Old Friend” were played back-to-back, hitting the tiny space with a ton of distortion and singalongs, especially when the charismatic second song kicked in.
The band then hit up an encore, a first for me at Mercury Lounge, with a new song titled “Where’s The Time?” It was a fitting way to end the show, giving the devoted fans in the crowd something new to learn. Almost assuredly, they also gained some new fans to sing along with at the next show.