Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Sea And Cake Played Great American - Pics, Review

Last night at the Great American, The Sea and Cake returned to San Francisco for an awesome, career spanning show. Despite GAMH only being about two thirds full, we're pretty sure we've never heard a louder or more enthusiastic crowd in that space. Not only did the band deliver a lengthy main set, but they were compelled to return for two solid encores by fans who just couldn't get enough.

Openers The Ugly Suit definitely delivered a solid dose of rock to the beginning of the evening. In general their live set was considerably more loud and jammy than anything they've got on the web. It would probably be fair to say that they had something of a My Morning Jacket vibe, although the songwriting and vocals weren't really up to Jim James standards. We enjoyed the Suit's set, but when they finished, we have to admit that we were eagerly awaiting the main act.

The Sea and Cake started off their set with all pistons running, and never really let up from there. They started with "Aerial", the opener from Car Alarm, and for the first part of the night proceeded with a set that drew quite heavily on the last two albums. For us, this was ideal, as the last two records have really been our most solid intro to the band. Still, it was clear that there were a number of long time fans in the audience who were dying for some older stuff.

The band didn't fail to deliver, and the second half of the set drew far more heavily on the older material, including "Nature Boy", "Parisol", and "Jacking The Ball". Still, we were glad to see that the band doesn't relegate their new material to beginning of the set fodder: they closed the second encore with a fantastic version of Everbody's "Lightning".

One of the more noticeable aspects of The Sea and Cake's live show is that while their tunes tend to maintain their intricate arrangements and sound, they tend to rock a bit harder. The drums, and guitars all seem to have a bit more of an edge, while Eric Claridge (amazingly) keeps his remarkably intricate bass lines going, even in a live setting.

For a band with such a lengthy history, and devout group of fans, we're really glad to see The Sea And Cake still delivering not only brilliant records, but a brilliant live show as well. These guys are all extremely talented musicians, and could easily rest on their laurels of being an indie rock institution. Instead, they're really getting out there and delivering a clear and resonating message about just how much they love every second of it. Cheers to that.

Many more pics at the HAD Archive