06 October 2008

Cake, Winterpills @ Main Street Armory

The night after seeing Ryan Adams I made it out again to see Cake playing right across the street at the Main Street Armory. I had never seen Cake and pretty much know next to nothing of their music. I got a pair of free tickets so it was a no brainer to check it out. Going solo, I sold the other out front for $20. the same price I had picked up my Cardinals ticket out front the night before, so the weekend was free!

As I walked in the opening band took the stage. Listed as special guest on the ticket, wasn't sure who it would be. As they took the stage I thought they looked familiar. Is this the Winterpills? Not a second later they announced that they were indeed the Winterpills from Northampton Mass. What a total and pleasant surprise. I have seen them before and have their first two albums. It was their first of a string of shows opening for Cake. I am the last person to be comparing anyone to Elliot Smith (especially with what I am about to say) but whenever I hear him I think of the Winterpills, so for any normal person who knows Elliot Smith, I would say the Winterpills sound a lot like him. Songwriting and vocals are their strengths. They've got a new album coming out, this show being the first time it was available for purchase, kinda wish I had picked it up.

The Winterpills played a nice 40m set, followed by a painfully long 45m break. Ugh. Sunday night, c'mon! Cake finally did take the stage. I thought they had a nice and unique sound, really liked what the trumpet brought to the table. I thought it would just be a here and there type thing, but it made it into nearly every song. The music was generally funky and danceable, with completely off beat and strange lyrics, from what I could hear and understand, not to mention the strange delivery of said lyrics. A ways into the set they broke into a decent version of War Pigs which got the crowd (surprisingly young crowd I might add) worked up pretty good.

After that, John McCrea made an interesting comment that we wouldn't have the armory for this very show had it not been for war. Then they kicked out another cover, Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town, most notably by Kenny Rogers, which revolves around the Korean War. This was a better cover I thought. But then after the banter got weirder and more annoying. McCrea decreed it the saddest song ever, and asked how everyone was doing. Crowd roared. Well, you've got a roof over your head and running water, McCrea continued. He then quizzed the audience as to the percentage of the world without running water and made the crowd raise their hands to answer instead of screaming it out. Once someone guessed right they were invited on stage to claim their prize which was the apple tree which was sitting on stage. Then McCrea went on to say how we should all be friendly with this guy because once food becomes too expensive we are going to want his free fruit...we should all befriend some gardners he added. OK, this was all too much. Shut up and play your guitar as a much greater politically active musician once said. I stuck around for another tune but then decided it was time for bed. I'm glad I got to see what Cake was all about though, the musical part was quite enjoyable. And might I add the temperature was much more bearable then the last time I was there.

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