February 3rd marked a highly anticipated end to the work week with Drab Majesty and Cold Cave’s joint sold out show at Barracuda. Owing greater familiarity to Drab Majesty after several attendances at his previous Austin shows at Cheer Up Charlies (as well as his most recent album, The Demonstration, in heavy rotation these last couple weeks), Cold Cave struck unfamiliar personal territory that I reveled in exploring leading up to the show. Arriving in time to stake out a good spot near the front of the downtown venue with Drab Majesty’s statues of lions and Apollo already propped onstage, the duo came out decked in blacked garb, futuristic sunglasses and a contrasting teal blue wig, initiating their set with a silent ritual before a wash of synths and guitar embraced the eager crowd. Comprised of former Marriages’ drummer Andrew Clinco and tourmate Alex Nicolaou, alter egos Deb Demure and Mona D respectively, the two performed tracks primarily from The Demonstration as well as a few songs off their 2015 album, Careless. Slow and brooding, Drab dug into his mesmerizing track for “Hallow” before delving into “The Foyer”, a hauntingly dreamy soundscape that kickstarts Careless and still remains a personal favorite. Harking back to 80’s synth nostalgia, “Too Soon to Tell”‘s slick icy vocals with darkwave undertones flowed seamlessly into Drab Majesty’s contemplative track for “Not Just a Name”, commemorating Deb’s ability to mold his craft from something familiar to work that’s deeply personal and genuine alongside flawless transitions from the upbeat to the somber within his 40 minute set.
Taking the stage promptly at 11PM, Barracuda’s packed house stood cheering for Los Angeles-based act Cold Cave, entrancing their audience with totally dark yet totally upbeat accessible songs. Wesley Eisold (of American Nightmare)’s performance packed a punch and captivated the rest of us to move and dance along to tracks like “Love Comes Close” off his debut album from 2009 and “People are Poison” (along with the phrase stamped on their projection screen in back of Barracuda’s stage) from their 2014 album Full Cold Moon. Visuals of bats fluttering and the near constant dim of lights aside from glowing hues of blue rendered Cold Cave’s atmospheric and experimental tones the perfect environment of post-punk ferocity and intellectually resonating lyrics. For fans of Joy Division and New Order, you won’t want to miss this act next time they’re in your town.