There was a point in college when my three favorite musical acts were Jack Johnson, Cake, and Coldplay, in no particular order. I am still a fan of each of them to varying degrees, but as we all know, our tastes change as we find ourselves in different stages of life, surrounded by different people, and introduced to new music.
Despite being a fan for the past many years, I somehow have never seen Cake live. Until last night at Minglewood Hall, and it was long overdue. It was great to enjoy in person the songs that accompanied me on many a college road trip back in the day. I haven’t kept up with Cake’s newer endeavors, but I am crazy about their older albums — Comfort Eagle, Prolonging the Magic, Fashion Nugget — and it was fun to finally see the guys perform this music I’ve been listening to for so long.
They played some songs I was vaguely familiar with from their new album, which, impressively, was number one on the Billboard charts despite their recent switch to an independent label. The songs I was more excited about, however, were of the older variety – Stickshifts and Safetybelts, Italian Leather Sofa, Guitar, Love You Madly, and a whole slew of others.
The crowd was of an interesting mix, and not nearly as into it as I (or lead singer John McCrea) would have liked, but that didn’t stop my fun. I stomped my feet and sang along, thoroughly enjoying the performance. In an effort to increase audience participation, John McCrea was a bit demanding of the crowd – name that tree, clap your hands, sing louder – but overall the band was very entertaining. They kicked the encore off with a very well-received cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, and then wrapped things up with the song we had all been waiting for, The Distance, which got the whole place moving.