Music Reviews — 13 August 2012
CAKE at Williamsburg Park: A LocalBozo.com Concert Review

An Evening with CAKE
Williamsburg Park, Brooklyn, NY
August 10, 2012

Concert Review: Cake at Williamsburg Park

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The summer concert series at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Park rolled on Friday night as the outdoor venue welcomed the return of California’s CAKE back to the borough. Despite the ongoing threat of rain, swarms of fans seemed unfazed by the potential to damper the show aptly titled “An Evening with CAKE,” reminiscent of the band’s last area shows here in April of 2011. Similarly eschewing an opener in an effort to perform longer for their fans, CAKE would roll out two distinctive sets sandwiching a brief intermission, and showing the Brooklyn faithful once again that despite a dearth of recent radio hits, they can deliver a live performance like no other band.

Following an epic instrumental opus that traditionally leads them out onstage, the band nonchalantly grabbed their instruments, looking out toward a sea of anxious audience members, excited to revel in the band’s sounds on this humid August evening. Led by bearded frontman John McCrea and paced by the smooth strumming six strings of guitarist Xan McCurdy, the band showcased their unique blend of country, alt-rock, and folk music in a two hour set spanning CAKE’s catalog with some covers thrown in for good measure. McCrea, to his credit, controlled the crowd from the get go with his trademark sarcasm, interactively alternating between goofing on and teasing the Brooklyn locals. The singer repeatedly addressed the crowd with ‘just one more song from the new album, and then we’ll stop..” before launching into another track from the same album.

Tracks from 2011’s “Showroom of Compassion” like the catchy “Mustache Man (Wasted)” led the Brooklyn hipster crowd around us in a dance party, while the howling “Bound Away” demanded they sway from left to right as if they were singing along around a backyard campfire. Meanwhile, the bouncy country-stylings of “Stickshifts and Safetybelts” from 2001’s “Fashion Nugget” roused the crowd in familiar CAKE fashion- part of what makes them such an interesting band to watch live is their ability to juggle each musical genre so seamlessly.

The band’s second set opened with an inspired rendition of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” an eclectic take on an iconic rock song, but one which fit in flawlessly with the vibe of the show’s remaining songs. The fun “Never There” and “Love You Madly” served as fodder for the crowd to dance some more before the band turned the clock back to 1994′s “Rock N Roll Lifestyle” from their debut album “Motorcade of Generosity.” Vince DiFiore jumped in from song to song pressing down on the keys stationed in front of him, but it was his trumpet playing that proved to be the pivotal highlight of several songs. McCrea meanwhile deserves much of the praise as his stellar vocals have held up admirably over the past two decades, seemingly better each time the band suits up in their casual gear and jumps on stage.

As the show drew to a close, CAKE made sure to please even fans with a passing interest in the band as “Short Skirt/Long Jacket,” “Haze of Love,” and “The Distance” were certain to send fans home happy. And where the music was certainly the show’s focal point, the loose, enthusiastic mood set by McCrea and company during the course of the night made for more than just an ordinaty night of standing around watching musicians perform. It was instead a lesson in entertainment taught by a band that both refuses to take themselves too seriously, while seriously delivering the type of live performance that is sorely lacking from artists far newer to the realm.

CAKE- Live at Williamsburg Park, Brooklyn, NY
August 10, 2012
Setlist (Courtesy of Setlist.fm)

1. Sad Songs and Waltzes
2. Opera Singer
3. Stickshifts and Safetybelts
4. Frank Sinatra
5. Federal Funding
6. Mustache Man
7. Long Time
8. Bound Away
9. Sick of You
10. War Pigs
11. Carbon Monoxide
12. Never There
13. Love You Madly
14. Rock ‘N Roll Lifestyle
15. Guitar
16. Short Skirt/Long Jacket
17. Haze of Love
18. The Distance

- Jane Van Arsdale

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(2) Readers Comments

  1. The show reminded me of a pooh I had eailier in the day.

  2. Thanks for reading Jim!