Review: The Sea and Cake; June 8, 2007 at Theater of the Living Arts; Philadelphia

The Sea and Cake
photo by Jonathan Koshi

Prekop, Prewitt, and The Sea and Cake boys put on a great show Friday night in Philadelphia. The songs from Everybody, their 2007 Thrill Jockey release, translated well to a live setting, and their sped-up renditions did more justice to the songs than listeners might get from the compact disc. It’s one of those cases, I think, where the live show gives the record more vitality. A similar thing happened to me when I first saw Ted Leo on tour for Shake the Sheets. If this proves true (like with Ted Leo), Everybody could become one of my favorite albums.

These guys aren’t exactly spring chickens, but it doesn’t really matter. Like fellow Chicago bands Califone and Wilco, they’re still on top of their game and they do it out of love.

The Sea and Cake played upbeat, concise versions of several songs from Everybody, including “Middlenight” and “Crossing Line,” as well as “Jacking the Ball,” from their self-titled album. I half-expected them to have a keyboardist, but their lineup was the standard two guitars, bass, and drums. All players were dead-on, and they’re all great musicians.

Theater of the Living Arts, now apparently redone and run by The Fillmore, was maybe a little too big for this band. There was a decent, respectful crowd, but it was not a packed house. This is, of course, always good for fans, but not always good for the band that has to make a living.

One of the last songs, “Left On,” showcased the excellent feedback-infusion that you’d expect from Prekop and the post-rock quartet.

All in all, a great- if not surprising- night.

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