Cave Credit: Frank Van Duerm

A couple of years ago the excellent, trance-inducing Chicago instrumental-rock band Cave quietly vanished. Drummer Rex McMurry moved to North Carolina in November 2015, while Cooper Crain and Rob Frye became increasingly busy with Bitchin Bajas, among other projects. That state of affairs felt like a shame to me, because Cave was on a serious roll; from a Columbia, Missouri, band bent on experimenting and jamming it had grown into an impressively lean and taut combo that mined a mix of Krautrock grooves and ultradry funk redolent of 70s Miles Davis and “Shaft”-era Isaac Hayes—especially on unstoppable rippers such as “Sweaty Fingers,” which opened its last studio album, Threace (Drag City). The band hasn’t performed locally since a show at the Empty Bottle in September 2015, but it’s making a welcome return this week, and with any luck Cave will soon finish mixing an album tracked not long after that last local gig. The lineup reunites bassist Dan Browning and guitarist Jeremy Freeze, whose presence signals a shift toward a more guitar-centric attack. I’m deeply curious to hear if, or how, the increasingly chill, post-Terry Riley sounds Crain and Frey have been pursuing with Bitchin Bajas mesh into the Cave soundscape, but whether the band simply resurrects a sound I miss dearly or pushes things in a new direction, I can’t wait.   v