I’ve enjoyed Cake’s music for many years but I really got into them when my friend Andy and I started listening to the song “Nugget” in order to get through some frustrations we were having with a project for work.  But the first time I actually saw them in concert was at the Outside Lands Festival and it was fantastic. So when I saw that they were doing a show at The Independent in San Francisco I simply had to go.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with The Independent, it’s a smallish venue that holds, by my guess, about 300 people. There is a regular stream of good artists on their calender, but getting to see a band like Cake in such a intimate setting doesn’t happen very frequently. Even at $50 a ticket the show was a bargain considering the experience.

Speaking of money, the reason Cake was putting on such a special show was to raise money for Proposition H which is on the ballet this November in San Francisco. If it passes, San Francisco will become the first city in the U.S. to be 100% powered by clean energy sources. Cake has a long history of finding creative ways to help environmental causes and it’s one of the reasons I love their music so much.

Naturally the place was packed and the crowd was fantastic. Very enthusiastic and clearly big fans. The set was almost two hours long which is amazing considering that John McCrea (lead vocals) was feeling a bit under the weather with a sore throat. But this fact didn’t seem to get him down much as he frequently addressed the crowd, interacting with us, asking us questions, making us laugh and (in typical fashion) giving away a tree.

This show was so unique that it’s really impossible to truly describe in words. But thankfully I did manage to get a couple videos that at least give you a feeling for how personal the setting was. Take a look and be jealous if you weren’t there :).

Comfort Eagle

Wheels

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Concert: JJ Grey & Mofro

September 14, 2008

I know, it wasn’t that long ago that I blogged about JJ Grey & Mofro but trust me, my listening habits aren’t centered around this one band. It just happens that their albums are amazing, they recently released Orange Blossoms and played the last two nights at The Independent in San Francisco.

The combination of leaving my place late and dealing with the never ending saga of parking around the venue made me miss the opening act, Hill Country Revue. This is a bummer because they appear to be a very talented bunch but thankfully I didn’t miss a minute of JJ Grey.

Most artists tend to play their most recent material at a concert and this show wasn’t an exception to that rule. But I was pleasantly surprised at much material they also played from prior albums. They hit up Jookhouse and Brighter Days off of their first album Blackwater. They played the title track off of Lochloosa as well as Fireflies.  Off of Country Ghetto they included War, Footsteps, Turpentine, Mississippi and possibly others (I was too involved in the music to make set notes).

Personally this was exactly the type of set that I was hoping for, one that mixes both the past and the present. However, the audience reaction wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The title track off of Orange Blossoms is a full on rocking song that tells a great story. I thought for sure the crowd would react strongly to the song but they didn’t. My guess is that the album is just so new that most fans haven’t had the chance to absorb it yet. Those fans are in for a treat when they do.

Also to my surprise was the fact that seemingly everyone in the audience sang along to Lochloosa. That track was released four years ago and really goes to show how strong and loyal the fan base is for the band.

At the end of the almost two hour long set I was wishing that I had gotten tickets for the Friday night show as well. So I will guarentee that you can find me at another one of their shows down the road.