From the moment I walked into Cavern, I felt quite optimistic about the musical prospects of the evening ahead. The first of these prospects emerged pretty swiftly after my arrival, in the form of Plymouth-based rock band Patrons, who managed to fill the room more than any opening act I’d seen there before. By their second or third song, I was convinced they were far too good to be the opening act. Their set was dynamic to say the least – their proficient transitions between strident, serrated riffs and gentle melodies were a sound to behold. The vocals really stood out, managing to be consistently powerful and yearning whilst displaying impressive range and dexterity. After performing consistently well-written material, Patrons brought an end to their sonically and emotionally powerful performance.
As Chiyoda Ku took to the stage, I wondered how the second act of the night would hold up against a very impressive performance from the opening act. Right from the start, Chiyoda Ku were incredibly distinctive, initially through their dark and intriguing experimentation, but also partly due to their strangely captivating stage presence. Most of the band’s stage time was spent with the bassist facing directly away from the crowd, the drummer angrily hunched over his kit, and the guitarist standing stock-still, apparently transfixed by his instrument and pedalboard. The band were an absolute powerhouse of experimental rock, and as far as I’m concerned, could be perfect representatives for the genre. The drummer’s technical skill was particularly noteworthy, as was his stylistic resemblance to Death Grips’ Zach Hill, who I’m sure was an inspiration. The guitarist’s use of an EBow was also a pleasant surprise. The band performed like a well-oiled machine – a machine that goes haywire, develops self-awareness and begins oiling itself. Their startling originality, and the fact that their skill set could easily belong to a band twice their collective age, meant that Chiyoda Ku put on a truly phenomenal show.
Before I knew it, Tricot had taken to the stage. They launched into their set pretty quickly, providing the sugar-coated melodies and turbulent rhythms which characterises their approach to music. In this regard, Tricot were the only band of the evening of whom I had accurate expectations – although this was certainly no bad thing. Their set was very good indeed. Highlights included the lively Ochansensu-su and a punchy rendition of Pool, as well as a scintillating interlude comprised of maracas and a whistle. The band certainly weren’t lacking in surprises either. Just when the audience thought they’d got the hang of a song’s rhythm, the group would throw in a half-bar or suddenly switch up the tempo to make things a little more interesting.
Luckily, the band themselves were far more coordinated, their notes falling perfectly into place like some kind of structurally convoluted jigsaw puzzle. There wasn’t much crowd interaction, perhaps due to the language barrier, but Tricot made the best of their situation. The lead singer’s prolonged, enthusiastic cry of ‘Yeah!’ got an even more enthusiastic response from the crowd, who seemed to respond very well to how much the band were enjoying themselves. Ultimately, Tricot were a wonderful end to a stellar evening of music – perhaps the best one at Cavern I’ve seen so far.