Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Sea And Cake Played Bowery Ballroom - Pictures, Review

Last night at Bowery Ballroom, The Sea and Cake delivered a lengthy set, complete with two encores, to a crowd of devoted fans. The show was part of their most recent North American tour, and was devoid of all pomp and circumstance. The band was traveling with no merch, and had a stage show that (as per usual) consisted of no more than four dudes playing their songs on stage.  The caveat was thus: those dudes can play their music very, very well.

To say that The Sea and Cake can deliver a bulletproof set is an understatement.  They are a well honed band to the nth degree, and their live show is akin to a more visceral version of their recorded takes. All the parts are there, and the arrangements are rock solid, but with just a touch more spice than one finds on the stereo.  In particular, John McEntire's drumming takes on a whole new character in the live environ.  When paired with Eric Claridge's unrelenting bass, it serves as an underpinning for the band as a whole.

However, by the end of the set, the well oiled machine had upped the pace to a frenetic hum, and the band began to, for lack of a better term, rock out.  It was probably the most high-energy we've ever seen this bunch, and they seemed to be truly enjoying themselves.  Hearing Archer Prewitt start to really tear into his guitar, one got the feeling that you were looking in on the more raw side of the band, the side that might bear its teeth at rehearsal space's or writing sessions behind the privacy of closed doors.

One thing remained true for the duration of the show:  these are a group of musicians who are more than able to deliver on the promise of their craft.  For the whole of the set (which consisted largely of newer material, with the occasional dip into the back catalog),  tune after tune  emerged in tip-top shape, and fell readily upon the ears of a crowd of highly enthusiastic fans.  There was no trick, no illusion, no attempt to create something that wasn't actually there.  Instead, it was completely heart-on-sleeve rendition of songs that were carefully crafted amongst the talents of the four men on stage. And therein lies the beauty of a Sea and Cake show:  it's all about the music.

More pictures in the HAD Archive