Sweet On Cake & 20 Other Dessert-Centric Bands

Categories: BestFest, Playbill

Cake: California Fashion Nuggets
One of the biggest headliners, and they are all headliners, of this weekend's Houston Press Best of Houston® BestFest is Cake, the quirky Sacramento pop-rock act responsible for radio favorites like "The Distance," "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" and "Never There," and a whole slew of really rad covers from their 20-year history.

Cake's name, innocuous as it may be, is now shorthand for the sort of catchy singles, buoyed by lead singer John McCrea's laconic and at times macabre voice, that have had stayed fresh on the radio for almost 15 years.

Seriously, this fall marks a decade and a half that "The Distance" from September 1996's Fashion Nugget has been in our life. When it comes on, we still turn it up, for that chorus, the horns, the keys, the bass line, the way it all seems to lock in together.

Nugget is actually still a joy from front to back. There's the cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Willie Nelson's "Sad Songs and Waltzes," and of course "Race Car Ya-Yas."

Their new album, this past January's Showroom of Compassion, is Cake's first full-length set since 2004's Pressure Chief.

We covered the last Cake show here in Houston, back in April 2009, and come to found out they have some of the most intelligent and die-hard followers ever, with the crowd looking like an IT convention mixer, in the best way possible.

Even Cake's lyrics are just a smidgen nerdier than most bands, dealing with heartache and longing, poking fun at the politics of love. There are few tough guys in the band's lyrical canon, which is what makes Cake approachable and endearing.

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Cake has some of the charm and all of the banality of "indie rock." Don't wanna rock too hard, don't wanna make a fuss, don't wanna offend anybody. They're the kind of band I could take my grandmother to see. My grandmother is super cool, of course, and I can count on Cake to not blow her hearing aid to shreds.

I do wish this fest the best, though. No hatin' here. Honestly.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

So your grandma likes songs about a rich girl's tits bouncing on leather sofas? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Or songs telling her to shut the fuck up? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

I think you aren't as familiar with Cake's catalog as you think you are. Neither of those songs I would call safe.

For me, they've always sounded much more original that your standard "indie" band. Which is probably why their one big hit was a radio-friendly cover, not their more original material.

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