Saturday, April 24, 2010

CAKE SHOW REPORT Carroll University, Waukesha, WI 4/23/10


So I bought two tickets to this show the day I found out about it thinking I'd have no problem getting someone to go with me... Everyone I asked said no. A posting that I had an extra ticket on Facebook resulted in ZERO inquiries. So I went by myself...

I had to work until 5:30 or so, head home to Waupun before leaving maybe around 6:15 for an 8:00 show in Waukesha. Traffic was pretty light through Milwaukee, I got to Waukesha in decent time, BUT - I'd forgotten how hard it is to navigate Waukesha if you don't know the area (probably is even if you DO know the area). So, I found myself in the middle of town somehow, had NO idea where I was, it was getting close to 8:00, I was pissed off and thinking I might just go home and forego the $40 spent on TWO tickets, one which was already useless >:(

Just as I was deciding it might not be worth the hassle to find the concert I came upon a gas station. I went in and took a shot that they'd be able to direct me to Carroll University. It was only like 4 blocks away! Yay! I parked on the street, found the will call window for my tickets and was in line in time to see the 8:00 start of the concert :)

I asked a few groups of people if they all had tickets thinking I'd just give away the extra one I had rather than have it go to waste... everyone already had their tickets. So I just got in line w/my two tickets. As God is my witness, the people in front of me realized the line they were in wasn't the ticket PURCHASE line and asked me if I knew where to buy tickets because they didn't have any. I said, "well, here's ONE!" and sent them to the will call window to find the ticket booth (figured they'd know where it was)... So that worked out OK :)

8:00 opening act is VIA AUDIO:
Now, I've been to a lot of concerts. I like seeing the opening acts (wanna get my money's worth I guess). But this band... I have to say they were possibly the most annoying band I ever sat through. Something about their vibe I just found extremely irritating. I absolutely hated them. I wanted to get right in front in preparation for CAKE, but... they were so bad to me that I stayed WAY in the back for about half their set. Then I maneuvered my way front & center, maybe 20-30 feet from the stage... no tall people in front of me. Perfect spot. They played a 45 minute set. I know because I looked at my watch every 23 seconds thinking "when will it END!"... It finally ended, the changeover between bands was more fun for me than the opening act :)

The concert was held in the Von Male Fieldhouse, basically a gymnasium at Carroll University. Large venue, MORE than big enough to hold the crowd for CAKE. I'd say maybe 1000-2000 people were there. Cake doesn't have a record deal anymore, they're releasing their next CD on their own. they are absolutely one of my favorite bands and I had never seen them live until last night.

Changeover lasted about 20-30 minutes. CAKE started around 9:15 or so...

The first song was played through the PA... kind of an 80s keyboard tune no vocals, maybe an "eye of the tiger" type vibe. No band onstage at all for the entire song (maybe 5 minutes long)... this was AFTER the PA announced the concert was starting... Halfway through the song a roadie put a tree onstage. Their backdrop was mountains & trees... that was the first song, basically a light show, a roadie and a tree. The band came onstage at the end of the song...

I gotta say I'm so used to going to punk shows with a pit and people just SURGING forward when the band starts that this had to be the most polite concert crowd I have ever seen. Tall people were letting short people stand in front of them. No surging. Plenty of space between people. If anyone even bumped you they'd say "excuse me"... The only refreshments available was water, CAKE did NOT bring any swag for purchase... but I digress...

CAKE hits the stage. They don't use a set list, just call off songs as they go. And they were really, really good. One thing I guess I've always known and liked about them is the bass & guitar lines are so well thought out, John McCrea is a genius songwriter, but the actual parts to his songs are so well done I've always liked that about them. I didn't realize how good the guitar player really is, though. They played a 90 minute set and did a lot of crowd participation type things. McCrea was really good at making the sing along and or clap along segments just a bit different than the normal concert experience. And halfway through the concert they gave away the tree to a crowd member who owned property, agreed to take care of it, send a photo next to the tree once planted and photos every couple years as the tree and person aged. The winner also had to agree that if they sell their house a clause goes into the contract that this tree does NOT get cut down. You can see all the tree winners by searching the CAKE site :)

After the 90 minute set the crowd went nuts for a LONG time... maybe 5 minutes?... they came back out and did SHORT SKIRT and THE DISTANCE as encores. Really good band, I wasn't crazy about the drummer (bit of a light hitter), but other than that... I got to see one of my favorite bands from a perfect vantage point and they were awesome... Thursday night I get to see Craig Ferguson at the Pabst Theater... ah, life is good :)