O2 Academy Islington, London
15th March 2017
Photos & Words by: Madara Fridenvalde
It had been an unusually warm early spring day in London which had set everyone in a good mood, but there was something rather icy in the air tonight. Outside of Islington's venue people braving a school night gathered for the opening show of Cold Cave’s European tour with support from Drab Majesty.
Drab Majesty is the solo project of Deb DeMure, the mysterious, ethereal character created by musician Andrew Clinco, whose excellent new album “The Demonstration” has just been released on Dais Records.
Deb DeMure was joined on stage by tour mate Mona D (alter-ego of Alex Nicolaou). Both were dressed in black garb as they emerged from a thick wall of smoke and opened with the lush and atmospheric "39 By Design" from the new record, setting the tone for the night. It was followed by a few songs from 2015’s debut album “Careless,” including fan favorite “The Foyer,” after which the band addressed the audience and then really kicked off a showcase of the new material.
Drab Majesty are glorious as a live act. The band has spoken previously about the importance of theatrics in pursuit of creating a memorable musical performance, but it's not only that. Very few people possess such strong personal radiance that you can feel their presence in a room before you even see them, and Deb DeMure seems just like one of them. He is enchanting and captivating which makes it hard to take your eyes off the stage during the show. The music is dark, ghostly and dreamy, with an unlikely combination of icy but heartfelt lyrics and pleasant dream pop melodies that push it all into a place of cathartic grandioseness with effortless grace.
"Well, that was absolutely wonderful," declares a stranger next to me as the last fleeting strings fade away, and I couldn’t agree more. With “The Demonstration” Drab Majesty have really stepped up their game and it is truly one of the most exciting music projects around right now.
After a short interlude, it was time for darkwave anarchists Cold Cave to take the stage. The lights went off, and without introduction, frontman Wesley Eisold, dressed in a signature black leather jacket, along with band mates opened the show with the upbeat "Love Comes Close" from 2009’s album titled the same, and made everyone dance immediately. Next on the menu was “Icons of Summer,” backed with flashing strobe lights and Eisold thrashing around the mic, feeling every beat of the track, in a complete command of the stage, never showing any sign of exhaustion and barely stopping to breathe. The pure energy was truly compelling. The rest of the set was split pretty evenly between material from “Love Comes Close” and 2011’s “Cherish The Light Years.” Songs such as “Underworld USA” and “Confetti” seemed to engage the crowd the most, people were singing and shouting the words along Eisold’s soothing voice.
A large part of the show was the visual material. A screen at the back projected black and white atmospheric imagery of waves, flames, rain and rising sun that enhancing the live performance. Eisold, however, barely interacted with the audience leaving it to his music to speak. His dark, reflecting lyrics do indeed demonstrate his ability to translate emotions into words, which is also apparent in his endeavors as a writer - copies of his poetry and short story collection "Deathbeds" were available to purchase on the night.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the show tonight to a non-diehard fan and a casual listener like myself was the obvious cult following Cold Cave have acquired over the years, and the number of those who had come out on a Wednesday night to support the project, which was, in itself, impressive.