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As one of the most devoted followings in modern music lost their collective shit upon Cake's emergence from the backstage curtain, the Sacramento band kicked things off with the molasses drip of "Sad Songs and Waltzes." Though the selection may have seemed a peculiar response to the sold-out Belly Up's anxious energy, initiating their set with that gloomy yet commanding number brought the crowd into the palms of their ten hands. Two more Fashion Nugget era tracks followed and flowed righteously into recent hits from Showroom of Compassion, many accompanied by a deafening call-and-response. As Xan McCurdy took a break from his savage guitar riffs and Vincent DiFiore laid down his piercing golden trumpet, frontman John McCrea bisected the audience and diligently lead his choir like a seasoned conductor.

The opener-free "Evening with Cake" format allowed for two sets separated by an intermission and gave McCrea space to flex his sardonic wit between songs like a toned bicep. Topics ranged from American anger to the complexities of life and death. His dry humor keeps the dialogue a level above preachiness and manifests itself in his songwriting (e.g., "Federal Funding").

Powerful echoing chants of "WE WANT CAKE!" brought the five-piece back under the lights for a three-song encore featuring "Short Skirt/Long Jacket," "War Pigs," and "The Distance." With the obnoxiousness of hyperbole in mind, Cake's stature as the best live band on the planet borders on scientific fact.

  • Concert: Cake
  • Date: February 17
  • Venue: Belly Up
  • Seats: General
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Comments

Gail Powell Feb. 29, 2012 @ 6:28 a.m.

I am glad that this music reviewer sees fit to drool all over Cake. I take umbrage with his closing statement that this bunch of Sac pretenders is the best live band on the planet. NOT! In my opinion, they have a couple of catchy tunes that 91X, as usual, overplays on the radio. That's about it.

Furthermore, that "drool wit and sardonic manner" mentioned is more like passive-aggressive hostility aimed at the audiences. At the 91X Christmas show at Viejas in 2010, I remember how that dopey lead singer came out and started arguing and belittling the fans. When they couldn't answer the dumb questions he was tossing out to the kids in the pit, all hell broke lose from the mouth of guttersnipe singer John McCrea.

It is a scientific fact: An "Evening with Cake" will make you a fan of pie.

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