Cavetown’s Fans Fill The Masonic Lodge At Hollywood Forever With With Joyful Voices
LOS ANGELES, CA- Cavetown fell into my radar sometime during the pandemic when I was browsing the internet for some new music that was “making noise”. There was an album on Billboard’s Americana/Folk albums chart called Sleepyhead that was in the Top 20 from an artist named “Cavetown”. Who? Perhaps, one of the reason’s why I didn’t recognize Cavetown’s “Americana” was because Cavetown a/k/a Robin Skinner, is a Cambridge-based musician (not American) and his music is more bedroom/indie pop than folk, in my humble opinion.
When I decided to give Cavetown’s Sleepyhead a listen, I was immediately drawn in by its warm sonic mood. There’s an earnest simplicity in his melodies that makes each of the tracks on the album feel like a personal voice memo for a friend or a loved one. The production value, feels clean and no frills, sans modern day effects like autotune or doubling. It all feels natural and organic, which actually lends itself to the folk genre.
The sonic approach to the production accentuates the various subject matters of the album. From emotionally vulnerable break up songs (“Trying”), to fleeting love (“Feb 14”), to mental health matters (“Empty Bed”), Sleeyphead is an album that really feels like a Robin’s personal musical diary. I mean, just read the lyrics to “Pyjama Pants” and try to convince me that he didn’t write those lyrics down after actually living them.
After getting a sense of Robbie and his music, I decided to go down the Cavetown rabbit hole and explore some of the 240+ videos on his immesnly popular (1.86MM subscribers) YouTube channel. As someone who is supposed to be listen to music in a discerning and critical way, I couldn’t help but get more personal with Robbie and his life. You realize that Robbie’s life on YouTube is just as transparent hasthe music on Sleepyhead. He’s open and honest about everything. There’s this one video from 3 years ago where he and his mom answer fan’s questions. I watched them having fun on camera and interacting with a genuine love that made a song like “I Miss My Mum” that much more impactful. I could only imagine how much more impactful his music would be to those fans who have grown up with Robbie watching all of his videos starting in November 24, 2012.
I’d soon find out.
I thought I arrived at the venue early. 45 minutes before doors opened would get me a decent spot in line, right? Wrong. By the time I arrived, the line waiting to get into the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever was already 100+ long. Some of the fans had been waiting in line hours before I had arrived.
After the crowd was ushered in, I found myself surrounded groups of girls who were all reserving spots for their friends. Noticing that this group of girls seemed to vary in ages and styles, I asked how they all knew each other. Did they go to the same school? Did they all work with each other? It turns out that that they had all met each other when Cavetown performed at The Moroccan Lounge in 2018. Since that show, they all decided to form a Twitter group to follow Cavetown’s musical ventures and also other music acts that they all liked together. Now, that’s a community.
Like Robbie, Addison Grace is a young artist who has also used social media platforms to her benefit. Her Tik Tk account has over 3.8MM subscribers (as of October 2021) and focuses on humorous musings of her day-to-day life. Her other social media accounts, like her YouTube, shares covers of her favorite songs and also stories about what’s going on in her life.
Her first single, “Sugar Rush”, was actually produced by Cavetown’s Robin Skinner, and has over 5MM streams on Spotify (as of October 2021) and she’s recently poked fun at its popularity on Tik Tok. Her Tik Tok revisiting the reason why she wrote “Sugar Rush” (a song she wrote for a straight woman that she had a crush on) is particularly funny.
Though it was just Addison seated on stage with her guitar (or ukelele), her vibrant Tik Tok personality shone through. The amazed smiles that she beamed between songs evidenced her humble nature, and while she may have millions of Tik Tok fans, she was clearly, truly appreciative of the people in the room giving her and her music some undivided attention. I just kept thinking how much more enjoyable her performance could have been backed by a full band or at least a drummer to give her upbeat songs more of that kinetic tempo.
For a musician who just broke out in the past year, I think that Addison’s got a lot of potential. Her pure vocals, and attractive personality, will go a long way in culling more fans as more music gets released, and more time passes.
I can’t begin to tell you how loud it was around me when Cavetown took the stage. The group of girlfriends that I was standing amongst erupted into loud, amorous cheers. As it would turn out, I would be surrounded by voices from Cavetown’s fans all night long.
You can get a sense of how an artist’s career will progress by the reaction of their fans. Whether they are headbanging and throwing up hand-horns throughout a metal set, or dancing in a pool of their own sweat to a DJ set, acts with longevity… or the potential of longevity… get their fans to commit to communal acts of concert activity. Cavetown fans sing along and throw up half-hand hearts.
Cavetown performed most of his set backed by a full band. But even when he was gracing the stage alone with just his guitar, he was never really alone. His fans served as his musical support system, singing almost every song, in full voice, with him. In fact, I honestly think he could have just accompanied them with his guitar as they sang the song for him. And that, for me, was an eye-opening indicator of the powerful effect his music had.
Throughout his 16 song set, which included songs from all of his albums (except 16/04/16 and only one song from his debut, which was “Devil Town” and was played as an encore … don’t quote me on this as I’m not as knowledgable about his entire repertoire as I probably should be). He played all of his most popular songs, “Juliet”, “This is Home”, “Boys Will Be Bugs”, “Lemon Boy”, “Fool”, “Talk To Me”” and “Sweet Tooth”… and his tender vocals were reinforced by the mellifluous voices of his fans, who sang each note and lyric as tenderly and meaningfully as he does.
Clearly, these are the fans who have racked up the millions of views and plays on YouTube and Spotify. These are the fans who will get to the venue hours before the doors open. These are the fans who know every lyric of every song and throw up their half-hand hearts to match up with Robbie’s when he reciprocates and does the same. These are the fans who have connected with Robbie as a human through his vlogs. These are the fans who have connected with the music that reflects Robbie’s life. These are the kind of fans that every artist wants, and Robbie has them.
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