Published 1992, The Aquarian Weekly
ASBURY PARK -- It was like being in some sort of bizarre Twilight Zone episode on this strangely eerie night. The usual mass of people filling the streets of the Asbury Park bar area were nowhere to be seen. The riots on the West Coast apparently had an unsettling effect on potential concert goers here in the east, as the streets and clubs were virtually deserted.
While newspaper headlines across America read as if they were torn from a late '60s scrapbook, a few faithful fans of the Boston-based Cavedogs were treated to a show that musically, as well as visually, recalled the best of '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s power pop music.
Bassist/vocalist Brian Stevens and drummer/vocalist Mark Rivers held down a solid, bouncing, powerful bottom while adding smooth lead and ringing harmony vocals to a set list that clearly deserves 20,000 or so screaming Meadowlands fans rather than the 50 or so brave souls in attendance at this show.
Meanwhile guitarist/vocalist/human dynamo Todd Spahr looked as if he'd mugged Pete Townshend in 1967, stole the nosed-ones clothes, and then teleported himself straight to this gig. Apparently born with a beat up Gibson SG in his hands, Spahr is a constantly whirling, leaping, flaying, bopping, flying, dancing, bouncing, over caffeinated, well...lunatic.
Slamming out tunes from their albums, "Joyrides For Shut-Ins" and "Soul Martini," the band are pure power pop heaven. With songs such as, "Love Grenade," "You're Put Away," "As You Were," "Murder," "III," "Boy In A Plastic Bubble," "Sorrow (Boots Of Pain)," and a rollicking, loud, perfect cover of Sweets "Fox On The Run" in their stage arsenal, this is one group not to miss.
At first slightly bemused by the fact that the crowd was as sparse as it was, the band more or less said, "what the hell," and then proceeded to blister the near empty confines of Club 101 with one of the most powerful, balls out shows the Jersey shore and a lucky few have ever seen.
If these guys were British they'd already be the next big thing. Slashing, intense, Who-Raspberries-ish power chords, chiming, melodic, Byrds-like guitar fills, slabs of psychedelic noise, swirling Chiltonesque grunge guitar, earnest vocals, sweet three-part harmony...the band somehow manage to take every aspect of pop music you ever loved and turn them into distinct, uniquely original, ringingly perfect, sing along out loud, Cavetunes.