Alicia's THING review


On October 7th, Mike K. and I went to see Cake perform at the best american essays Orpheum Theater in Boston. A longtime fan of Cake, I was excited for weeks about this concert and couldn't understand why neither my brother nor my sister wanted to have a night out on the town. I prepped, and repeatedly played “Motorcade of Generosity,” “Comfort Eagle,” “Fashion Nugget,” and “Prolonging the Magic” on my computer.

I was worried about one thing, however: the newest album, “Pressure Chief.” Sure, “No Phone” is a good song, but upon purchasing the rest of the CD, I was sorely disappointed with the other tracks. I felt like John McCrae's voice was weaker, and the songwriting lacked the biting flair of their previous attempts. Then, to make matters worse, I learned that “Northern State” would be the opening band, and after visiting their website,, I discovered that they were possibly the worst “band” I have ever experienced, even if only for a second.

(Note to self: do not join all white female rap group – bad career move. Especially if one of the members has renamed herself “Hesta Prynn.” Actually, let me insert a little review of right now: easy to navigate, yet FEARFULLY WRONG.
Why, oh why, does your font change to street graffiti when I run my unsuspecting mouse arrow over it? And why does your music suck? And why does this woman exist:
And why does she call her records “rekkids”? NO. STOP.)

Anyway, I had nothing to fear, for we skipped out on Northern Suck, and hit Chinatown instead. Here is my review for out Chow Chou City dinner: Yum. I ordered the delightful green beans and beef, and Mike got something equally as good, but I must confess I don't remember what it was. The service was speedy, though, and the Tsing Tsao beer was fizzy and relaxing, setting the stage for: CAKE.

We had seats way in the back, but they were great! We were right in front of the projection booth, so we didn't have to worry about blocking anyone's view. The Orpheum's temperature that night was pretty much how I would imagine a theater-sized oven's would be – we were like little appetizers, slowly being cooked for some sort of gargantuan creature's pre-game h'ors d'ouerve. That didn't happen, though. No roof was taken from the building and we weren't plucked from it like ants.

The audience was mostly aging frat dudes, which I thought was kind of funny. In fact, at one point during the night, the heady odor of pot wafted over us. I pictured a 28 year old guy, hanging out with his buddies from Xi Theta Epsilon, the BU Chapter, hearing “Daria” and saying, “Dude, remember how awesome it was when we heard that song that time with that chick at that bar? And then we smoked up and it was awesome and we watched Robocop and then we threw your sofa out the window? And then we smoked pot? Dude, you have some? No way! For old times, dude, for old times…”

Set List:
Sheep Go To Heaven
Frank Sinatra
Is This Love?
something by someone named Buck Oates????
Stickshifts and Safetybelts
Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle
Never There
No Phone
Haze of Love
Carbon Monoxide
The Distance
I Will Survive

It was such a relief to hear so much old material. And McCrea's voice was fabulous — no weakness there! He did engage in banter with the audience that bordered on angry, belligerent derision, though. You'd laugh, but then you'd think, “Is he actually angry at the audience?” Especially when he was trying to get the crowd to sing. I am proud to say that we were on the side that sang the loudest. We pleased John McCrea. The other side didn't so much.

The audience lots its momentum during the Buck Oates (still not sure if that's who it was) cover, and I worried about the vibe diminishing even more. But man, to put Stickshifts and Safetybelts right afterwards was a swift and clever recovery. In fact, we learned that the band doesn't actually have a setlist with them — everything's on the fly. Good work, CAKE. Also, congratulations on really doing LIVE versions of your music! It's so fun for the audience to hear songs in a new way.


One thought on “Alicia's THING review

  • 12/6/2004 at 11:18 pm

    This is not a movie. I mean I saw one tonite and I can have a review for National Treasure. ps – I enjoyed your review of THX. MAde me want to go rent it.

Comments are closed.