Last Night: Cake At Best Of Houston BestFest

cake sept 26 b.JPG
Photos by Marc Brubaker
Cake
Houston Press Best of Houston® BestFest
Midtown Superblock
September 25, 2011

We're not sure if Cake lead singer John McCrea is genuinely a cantankerous prick, or if he simply pretends to be one onstage because he finds it amusing to do so. The end result is largely the same: An occasionally vexed audience noticeably put off by his crotchety grumblings about everything from the stage crew to his fellow bandmates.

Yet what could better befit the man's personality? Fans of Cake will no doubt be familiar with McCrea's sarcastic, smart-assed lyrics, aided by his deadpan delivery. The guy can actually sing quite well, but usually he just prefers to speak his lyrics in immaculately enunciated meter. McCrea wants his lyrics to be understood.

His persona... maybe not.

cake trumpet sept26 a.JPG
It was a long, hot day at the first-ever Best of Houston® BestFest, and also been more fun than we've had in quite some time. The bands were great, the vendors were for the most part cool and local, and just about everyone we knew was there.

Cake closed out the day, immediately following a fantastic set from Houston native Hayes Carll, as warm and likeable a front man as you can imagine. Perhaps following him is what made Cake start their set off with their cover of Willie Nelson's "Sad Songs and Waltzes."

A canny move, as it made the transition between Carll's country jukebox Americana and Cake's beatnik alternative somewhat less jarring. McCrea didn't talk much at first, instead letting the songs speak for themselves, playing mostly new material off January's Showroom of Compassion for the first half of their set. Towards the end of the new material is where, in fact, the grousing started.

McCrea started in on the backstage crew for their apparent failure to make a lone, smallish disco ball suspended high in the rafters work properly. "It's our only piece of unique lighting and you guys can't get it to work. Did you even try? Did you just try once and then give up? Try jiggling the wire. Unplug it and then plug it back in, that always works."

He toed the line between lighthearted kidding, and sincere irritation. The crowd tittered nervously, then sparse boos began fluttering up. (Boos meant for McCrea or the lighting crew, we don't know.)


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11 comments
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guest
guest

I saw Cake last night. Well, half the show. I was wondering if the lead singer was always like that, or if he was having a bad night. I guess he is always like that. We left early. His attitude sucked. What a disappointment.

rgwalt
rgwalt

I just got tired of hearing the guy flap his gums after every freaking song.  Why can't they just play their music?  A few comments here and there are OK, but we left simply because we got tired of listening to McCrea go on and on and on...

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Buttercupncream
Buttercupncream

Oh I love how Houston Press is totally overemphasizing his remarks. We were booing the lighting team but it was al in good fun and humor! Everyone was laughing, y'all need to lighten up.What y'all failed to mention however was the lack of grass, lack of shade, and terrible organization of the vendors. I felt like I was a caged animal in the desert being fed horrible food and overcompensating with icecream. Take a hint from other professionally organized festivals: put all the vendors of like items together (food, beer, silverleaf resort douchbags... ever heard of game theory?) And provide SHADE if you insist of hosting the festival on disgusting turf.Best Fest= Worst Fest

Ginny Braud
Ginny Braud

VIBRASLAP. EVERY. SONG. If i ever hear that noise again, it'll be too soon.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

That's one of their trademarks, though. That's like complaining about a trumpet in every song.

T.L. Hamilton
T.L. Hamilton

I was a little put off by McCrea browbeating the lighting crew. I might be biased since I'm married to a guy who does stagecrew/lighting/sound and have heard quite a few tales about performers being complete dicks about things they don't know anything about. If it was all lighthearted fun he wouldn't have brought it up so many times. Unfortunate that had to mar what was otherwise a fantastic performance.

Jack
Jack

I believe you're being a little overly offended by his grumpiness as you call it. I call it sarcasm. Especially what he said about the pitch perfect band. No, we didn't hear it that way at all in our part of the audience. In fact, we laughed and no one uttered a single "a-hole". Perhaps Aftermath spent too much time working a shift at the hug-a-tree Houston booth earlier in the day. Much thanks to the Press for getting them to come to Houston.

Ted Stickles
Ted Stickles

Actually, I screamed 'SOUNDS GOOD ASSHOLE' at him, but still sincerely enjoyed the show

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