By Joshua Mellin | December 24th, 2010
For a band with a lead singer that doesn’t really sing too much, Cake manage to craft a lot of meaningful moments in their music and live shows. A few years ago I saw John McCrea’s band play in the middle of an ivy covered gothic courtyard in the middle of a massive downpour. During the pause in “Frank Sinatra,” lightening struck in the distance and thunder crashed down, right before the band drilled through the end of the song to close out their set.
You kind of know what to expect at a Cake show, but you’re never quite sure where it’s going to come from. This past Tuesday evening, I found myself looking down from an opera box at Chicago’s House of Blues while lead singer John McCrea leaned out over edge of the stage, leading the audience in an impassioned sing-a-long of “Sheep Go To Heaven.”
Whether it’s the Vibraslap (bet you always wanted to know what that was called), or the trees they seemingly give away at nearly every show, it’s that strange quirkiness thats kept Cake endearing for over a decade, fostering a fan base that’s even willing to groove through repetitive rants on the environment.
Their fans are even willing to sit through a nearly seven-year hiatus for Showroom of Compassion, Cake’s sixth studio album to be released January 11. It is their first new release since 2004′s Pressure Chief, and McCrea has promised a “different” sound that incorporates acoustic piano and reverberation, something Cake has shied away from on their previous releases.
On the first single, “Sick Of You,” the horns are still there, McCrea’s deadpan delivery remains, and Cake retains their idiosyncratic approach, while still adding a bit of an edge. So far it’s received a positive response, reaching #4 on the US Alternative Songs chart. The crowd at House of Blues Tuesday accepted it with open arms, instantly grooving along as though it was another classic Cake tune.
If you’ve never seen Cake before, they tour extensively, and offer a really unique live experience, I highly recommend catching them at some point. Also, if you haven’t seen them in awhile, go check out their new stuff, remember: this is a band that’s never released a bad album.
Bonus: Sheep Go To Heaven and Frank Sinatra (Live Version)
Remaining tour dates:
12.30 @ The Palladium, Dallas, TX
12.31 @ Austin Music Hall, Austin, TX
01.14 @ Sunset Cover Ampitheater, Boca Raton, FL
01.15 @ Janus Landing, Tampa, FL
01.16 @ House of Blues, Orlando, FL
01.17 @ Centerstage, Atlanta, GA
01.18 @ Centerstage, Atlanta, GA
01.19 @ Centerstage, Atlanta, GA
01.20 @ Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
01.21 @ Minglewood Hall, Memphis, TN
01.22 @ Work Play Theater, Birmingham, TN
02.10 @ The Centre For The Performing Arts, Vancouver, BC
02.12 @ The Moore Theater, Seattle, WA
02.13 @ Roseland, Portland, OR
02.14 @ Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
02.15 @ Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
02.16 @ Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
02.17 @ Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
02.18 @ Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA
02.19 @ Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA
02.20 @ Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA
02.21 @ Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA
03.18 @ The Troxy, London, England
03.19 @ La Cigale, Paris, France
03.20 @ Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
04.14 @ 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
04.15 @ 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
04.16 @ 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
04.17 @ Keswick Theater, Philadelphia, PA
04.18 @ Keswick Theater, Philadelphia, PA
04.20 @ Terminal 5, New York, NY
04.22 @ Wang Center, Boston, MA