So Danielle wasn’t feeling so hot last night (thanks to a persistent bug that she claims I brought home), so I called up Marty who was more than glad to come check out the show with me. He had a floor hockey game and showed up just in time for Cake to hit the stage.
Sadly, I went plenty early and arrived even before the opening band hit the stage. The Paper Lions sound more like an East Coast pub band, but had a strong stage presence. With just one album under their belt, I’m sure they have time to improve and will no doubt take their home province of New Brunswick by storm. Having a Great-Big-Sea-esque band open for Cake was an interesting choice and I think a local rockabilly band might have had a better reception and gotten the crowd a little more frenzied. Alas, they did a fine job.
speaking of the crowd… what a mix. Old people, young people, scuzzy rock hippies and CEOs, this was the most diverse rock crowd I’ve ever seen, and everyone was friendly and chatty with one another. They were just all glad to finally have a chance to see Cake in person, and here’s why…
Their first attempt was playing Edgefest in 2002, where their highbrow humour was lost on the huge crowd of Nickelback fans (did I just say that?) who pelted them with bottles until they had to leave the stage after only two songs. Nickelback fans, you never cease to disappoint me. Then, in the summer of 2004, Cake were slated to play Toronto Bluesfest (for some reason), but the entire festival was cancelled at the last minute thanks to poor ticket sales. I wonder if booking headlining acts that have nothing to do with blues was a contributor. Anyways, as the old saying goes, “the third time’s the charm”.
So, was the show good? No. It was not good. It was so much more than good, I might have to invent a new word. It was Cake-a-doodle-do. Every song was musically very tight and engaged the crowd FULLY. Banter between the crowd and band was lighthearted and witty and they even stopped the show before the first encore, had everyone hush in the venue and then people raised their hands to guess the type of tree the band had with them on stage. The winner kept the sapling. Apparently they’ve been doing this everywhere on their tour and it was hilarious.
I got to hear most of my favourite songs (setlist to follow) and learned that the lead guitarist plays the type of guitar I’ve been coveting for years, the Gretsch although, it’s a solid-body, not hollow like I want.
The band kept my attention through the entire show, kept long instrumental solos from albums to a minimum and even talked between songs to figure out what to play next. One of their quirks is not having a setlist so that each show is truly unique. We even got to hear a song off their next album which comes out next year.
Once I got home, I was comparing this show to all the others I’ve ever been to and I can easily say it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. If you can, go check them out. They play in Hamilton tonight and then they’re roaming the northern US for a while.
Alls I know is that I’m going to spend the next few weeks humming their songs and looking online for a decent b00tle9 of the show, so I can relive it time and time again. Cake-a-doodle-do.