Cake – Terminal 5 – May 29, 2009

June 1st, 2009


“See this watch? I’m taking it off…because time doesn’t exist.” That’s how John McCrea started Cake’s sold-out show at Terminal 5 on Friday night. There was no opener, but that seems typical for a group that battled its former label and achieved much more success than anyone expected. Onstage, McCrea stood next to a six-foot potted tree, which was eventually given to the audience member who correctly identified it. (The winner had to promise to take pictures with it. “Every few years or so as the tree gets larger and you get smaller and more decrepit, we can watch the progress.”)

Maybe this had something to do with the band going green: The show began with tracks from an as-yet-untitled album recorded in a solar-powered studio. “Those are some new songs you might not recognize from our album, which we will release whenever we feel like it, because we have no record company.” To cheers, he sarcastically responded, “Maybe we won’t ever release it…. We should release ringtones instead.”

McCrea hit a vibraslap to add one of the band’s signature sounds to Gabriel Nelson’s and Paulo Baldi’s deep grooves, while Vincent DiFiore blasted through another trumpet solo. It’s this unusual combination of elements that leads to Cake’s blend of country-funk-lounge-pop, which never ceased to move the crowd. McCrea demanded an impressive amount of audience participation—dividing concertgoers to sing separate harmony parts and directing the sea of arms. There wasn’t a static moment at the three-plus-hours party. —Jason Dean