Friday, November 11, 2011

The Sea and Cake Plays the Perfect Show

I've been a long-time, die-hard fan of Chicago jazz-pop masters The Sea and Cake since their earliest records in 1994-1995. But, somehow, I had never caught them live. And last night at D.C.'s Black Cat, the band didn't disappoint.

McEntire, Claridge, Prekop, and Prewitt
The four musicians look like average middle-aged guys, but when they started playing, they were the coolest and one of the most mesmerizing bands I've seen in a long time. The short video above of one of their classic tunes does a pretty good job of capturing some of their magic.

Sam Prekop leads the band with unusual guitar picking and strumming styles, and vocals that are gorgeous yet at the same time don't really matter much in relation to the rest of the powerful music being played. Archer Prewitt masterfully blends his wildly inventive lead guitar playing with Prekop's stylings.

Meanwhile, Eric Claridge muscles his bass into sounds that reach the most pleasurable expanses of the listener's brain and drummer John McEntire freaks out with his precise smashes and joyously weird facial expressions.

I love this band. And although I really couldn't tell you what the set list was, it just didn't matter. All the songs were so good that when they finally got around to playing "Parasol" from 1995's perfect album Nassau as the set-closer, it was simply icing on the cake to a perfect show.

***** out of ***** stars

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