It’s been a long time coming, but Caveman is back on the scene with a brand new album, and New York has not forgotten about them. Enthusiastic cheers, friendly jest, and the request for more whiskey, we were ready to receive Otero War live. Two nights ago, Matthew Iwanusa, and the rest of the Brooklyn based crew took the stage at Bowery Electric around 8PM for the debut performance of their forthcoming record, Otero War.
Adjusting guitar straps, tuning a couple strings, and taking one more swig of something, folks gathered round. The blue spotlight drew an intimate circle around Iwanusa as he greeted the crowd with: “Drinks are on me at the open bar!”
Hardy, gregarious camaraderie was Iwanusa’s style as he shared thoughts between songs. The set was straight down to the music but the few transitions between songs were so natural it was obvious it wasn’t Caveman’s first rodeo playing together. Iwanusa shared his genuine gratitude to be performing once again.
The instrumentation consisted of vocals, background vocals, two guitars, keys, synth, drum kit, bass, and an additional tom and snare. It was a six-piece ensemble driving an indie rock groove with a glimmering electro-pop feel. The vocals were clear and impressionable with a tone that reminded me a lot of Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes; only I’d add that Iwanusa is more expressive. (Turns out Iwanusa used to sing for the Metropolitan Opera as a kid)!
About half way through the set the band played the tune, “Human.” It was my favorite of the night. The lyrics struck me and the melody is lo-key catchy (not pop catchy, just right catchy). The synth repeats the vocal riff during the outro and fades; leaving me playing it over again in my head.
Jimmy Carbonetti played a really striking electric guitar. It was a sharply hourglass shape and a fire engine red. I noticed the headstock had a name I didn’t recognize. Soon I realized it was his name! Turns out he works on original designs at La Bella Guitar shop in Brooklyn. And as if this group couldn’t get any cooler, Carbonetti donned a western style bolo tie. I think they could certainly push that theme even further to bring more aesthetic cohesion onto the stage. Overall, Caveman is a band you’d love to sing along to, dance to, and definitely see live.
Caveman starts their tour this month with SXSW and finishes in July with the Panorama Music and Arts Festival right back here in NYC — so be sure to catch them! In the meantime, listen to Caveman’s single, “Never Going Back.” Otero War will be released this summer of 2016.
Article: Tiffany Wilson