Concerts Concerts Caveman and Hospitality at the Horseshoe Tavern

Caveman and Hospitality at the Horseshoe Tavern

Caveman at The Horseshoe
Caveman
Hospitality
Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, ON
January 11, 2012

Review by: Chad Hutchings
Photos by: Julie Lavelle

The two New York acts step up to help shake the city out of its holiday slumber.

Caveman

In an early effort by Toronto's music scene to slowly work its way out of the standard January lull, New York's Caveman was booked to headline an all indie-rock bill at the Horseshoe last week, supported by Hospitality and Volcano Playground. With the group being one of my favourite accidental discoveries of 2011, I was eager to see them back on stage, playing tracks from an album that has seen more than its fair share of time blaring in my apartment. 

The fact that I'd become so well-versed with that album might explain why the act's Wednesday performance seemed to stand out more strongly for me than for other critics in the audience that night, who seem to have left feeling unengaged. You see, on stage, Caveman is sober and focused — qualities that stand strong if you're an established fan hoping to see their work performed perfectly, but don't sit well if you're new to the group and waiting to get hooked, especially at a venue that doesn't exactly beg intimacy.

The band's debut LP, Coco Beware, is a smooth creature; it's slow and methodic and best heard as a single entity instead of broken down piecemeal as single tracks. And, for better or worse, their live show is the same. Their performance is flowing and meant for eager ears that want to be awash in a sound, not by feet that are itching to dance. So, if you're planning to see Caveman, don't plan to party, and don't expect to be charmed by four minute stunners. While not a lot of tracks jump out on their own strength, it's the absorbing quality of their work that's worth commending (with that said, though, tunes  "Old Friend" and "Easy Water" were easy highlights). With smart drum beats, low-profile vocals, and solid (often ambient) layering, Caveman offers an immersive experience.  That's just what you need to be looking for when you come through the doors.

Info: Caveman
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Hospitality

Also hailing from New York, Hospitality found themselves in the middle of Wednesday's line-up to perform a set in support of their upcoming self-titled LP with Merge Records. 

The four-piece is fronted by vocalist Amber Papini, whose quiet charm lends a face to a group who, despite playing music with more pep than their countrymen, showed little of the energy you'd expect to accompany their sound. While there was plenty of life in their music, there was little in their show, and it was difficult to make sense of the imbalance. As a new group, though, they are bound to have these sort of wrinkles that need ironing, and the strength of Hospitality's work will surely support them while they find their sea legs.

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