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Cake

June 28, 2008

Months ago, I got a message from Sthena on Facebook telling me that Cake was coming.  Within the hour, I got another one, telling me that she’d bought me a ticket.  I didn’t even have to reply and ask her to.  She knows me, really.

For completely and utterly no good reason, I love Cake.  It’s counter to pretty much everything about music that I tend to enjoy other than being odd, but I just adore their work.  There’s very little they’ve done that I’ve not loved, and what there is comes down to one track a CD or so.

So I went.  It was a horrifically expensive show, but utterly worth it.  I’d never been to a show at the Vogue, so that in itself was a bit of an experience.  It’s a giant, opulent neoclassical theatre that, regardless of the apparent permanant renovations, seems to ooze class and distinguishment in the same manner a salesman exudes charm.  This veneer of distinction seemed to exist in a state of constant conflict with the very contents of the building, swarms of uppity scenesters enrobed in thin veils of feigned irony and affected un-cool, all smelling strongly of cheap cigars, mediocre beer, and mothballs; because for all that no one is quite sure how, everyone knows vintage is trendily ironic right now.  The monstrous edifice’s aura of dignity seems to constatly be reeling slightly, under continuous assault from ranks of identically disaffected scene kids, all of which are carefully try not to be cool, for truely, everyone who’s anyone knows that the genuinely hip don’t care about status.  How deliciously, appallingly ironic that the affected un-cool should succeed so marvellously, robbing those trying so hard by effort of trying to not try and be cool of any chance they might’ve had to receive the acclaim of their peers, either for their hip-ness of lack thereof.  In the face of this, the only truely uncaring, apathetic cool is the mildly affronted stately dignity of the old building, seeming to merely tolerate the legion of otherwise unremarkable uppity children filling it’s belly for an evening.

Oh, the poetry.  So many people, all craving to posess those qualities of hipness, and the only entity present truely possessing such, lacks even the consciousness to note or care about it’s own status.

But my train of thought has been waylaid.  I was there for a concert, not to deride my peers.  Though that also amused me.

Cake, dear Internet, puts on a phenominal show.  They have a somewhat laid-back stage manner, for all that John McCrae is a marvellous speaker and continues an excellent banter, is somwhat at odds with their surreal, near-frenetic music.  They did, it must be said, play all their major songs, and the only track missing from my ideal Cake experience was “Hem of Her Garment;” which was completely unsuprising, given that it seems to be a mysteriously underappreciated track from their repetoire.  Sthena, her friend, and I sung gleefully along, rocking out to the extent that we could while seated.  (The only other thing preventing this from being a perfect Cake experience, by the way, was it being a seated show.)  The band apparently doesn’t use a setlist, so they would play two or three songs before having to take a brief break while they all bickered about what to play next.  Oddly, no one was shouting suggestions and requests during this period.  Then, they’d resume playing, and get back to it.  We spent much of the show puzzled regarding the small tree sitting on the stage, until mr McCrae announced they were giving an apple tree (“This very apple tree, in fact!” he proudly mentioned, while explaining.) to the oldest person in the crowd willing to admit their age.  Despite the ancient geezer behind me, the tree went to a man near the front in his late 60’s, who was made to promise to take a photo of himself every year with his tree, so the fans could see the tree grow and strengthen while he aged.  Ironic, and somewhat cruel, but fascinating regardless.  Such depths of existential metaphor would, normally, be out of place at a rock concert, but interludes of sucha  philosophical bent manage to parcel themselves into Cake’s show perfectly.

I loved it, really.  We did get up and dance during the encore, and had great fun partying the way a concert was meant to be enjoyed for a few of the tracks.  I didn’t know nearly as many words as I’d thought I did, but had a blast mostly singing along regardless.  And I did manage to be utterly shamefully fanboyish, naming the songs as the opening bars played, competing with Sthena to name the song correctly first.  Faugh.  Despite loathing them so, I really am such a scenester.  I wonder if all the others also share my utter contempt for our own kind?

Oh, Cake, see what you do to me?  Such philosophy, all set to a catchy beat, sets hold in the mind and corrupts other, simpler ways of thinking.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Tara permalink
    June 28, 2008 11:40 pm

    You’ve got a “three” in there where “tree” should be.

    You haven’t any idea how jealous I am that you went, y’know.

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