I and my friend Dan experienced a bit of subway delay action and thus walked into New York City's the Knitting Factory a song or two into Lorene Drive's set. On paper the band is the obvious odd one out, but in the live setting they aurally pump up that Glassjaw influence, so they weren't completely out of place. Still, their brand of rock-fueled, modern melodic post-hardcore with typical relationship fare and fairly whiny vocals seemed pretty displaced in context of the lineup. They had a few fans in attendance, but even then there were a few embarrassing moments. With the guitars much more prominent on stage than on record, so were the band's attempted breakdown; yes, there was a real breakdown in one of their songs. Why, I don't know, maybe to relate to their tourmates. At one point, during this said breakdown come to think of it, the singer urged the crowd to "get this place moving;" needless to say, it remained stagnant. I still don't think Lorene Drive is a terrible band per se, as they're an iota better live than on their album, Romantic Wealth, but regardless, it was a generic display of rock I still wasn't feeling.
Doomriders came on next, and this was another band whose key enjoyment lies more live than on record, and plenty moreso than the preceding band. They had a few completely trashed fans up front rocking out for nearly every song, which the Deathwish outfit continously referred to as "total Ozzfest bros." One drunk fellow in particular became shirtless not three songs in, eventually retiring to a staggering direction that seemed lavatory headed. I was surprised to see a bit of kung fu action in the crowd for their band's heavier parts, and at one point even, a one-man circle pit, as they're a band who is very obviously based in Motörhead-styled Southern rock'n'roll/metal, only with that hardcore coating over it. "Black Thunder" was definitely a standout, as was "Fuck This Shit," both off the recent Black Thunder. They even played the instrumental track, which was a bit long-winded, as well as most off the tracks off Thunder in fact. My attention phased out at times, but it was a pretty enjoyable, always rocking set.
I'd been pretty excited for the show due to the headliners, who came on next. However, Cave In gave us a set list that was very subtle, or maybe that's just a nice way of saying it was underwhelming. The band seemed to opt for more of their slower, atmospheric songs, leaving out almost all of their best, most anthemic tracks (see: "Jupiter," "In the Stream of Commerce," "Paranormal," many off Antenna), only managing to squeeze 11-12 overall in an hour's time. When the band wasn't breaking between songs, they were going into effects pedal-laden jam sessions to connect them, which was cool, but probably took up the time of what could've been another 2 or 3 songs. Things got started modestly with "Off to Ruin," which was odd, as it's a solid, paced track, but hardly one of the best off Perfect Pitch Black. However, they made the squealing, Egyptian guitar tones of this particular song even more high-pitched here, which was interesting. The band followed it up immediately with "Dark Driving," their own short version of "Perfect Pitch Black" and "The World Is in Your Way," the last of which finally started to pick things up. The band introduced themselves at this point, and proceeded to get into the rest of the set. They dipped into their back catalog for "Moral Eclipse," which the crowd erupted for. Both songs off the cassingle they had on sale (which I made sure to pick up at a fair $3) were played as well, those being "Shapeshifter" and "Dead Already," the first songs recorded with new drummer, the mustachoed man from Converge, Ben Koller; they were quite different for the band. The former galloped along at a punk rock pace, being probably the fastest song the band's written since their metalcore days, only with lead singer / guitarist Stephen Brodsky handling all the vocal duties in a cynically sung fashion. The other went along at about the same pace, but had bassist Caleb Scofield handling the voice job here in his signature screaming/growling style; this one was equally odd in that it's the loudest, most abrasive song they've written to date perhaps, but if only because it's not very dynamic. The sole Antenna ambassador included "Stained Silver," but luckily it sounded fantastic. As far as the rest of Perfect Pitch Black's tracks, I was pretty thrilled to hear "Trepanning," and the instrumental "Ataraxia" was included swiftly ("Droned" may have made an appearance, I'm unsure on this one). One of the most specifically disappointing things of the set must've been the number of tracks played off Jupiter: 1. I patiently waited the entire set to hear that glorious drum roll of "Jupiter," but never got it. "Big Riff" fed my Jupiter-craving needs, but didn't quite satiate the appetite. The band came on to do one last song, and "Juggernaut" was chosen.
All in all, Cave In played with plenty of enthusiasm and energy, and definitely looked like they were having a good time, likely due to it being their first tour in a year. However, the band probably would've done well to squeeze in a few more songs and replace a bunch of others with their more anthemic material, even if they did manage to draw from a fair handful of their releases. Still, solid set, pretty solid show.