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An Evening with Cake
June 22, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 11:55 pm| $34
Out of Northern California’s flat, dry central valley, CAKE formed in the nineties as a somewhat antagonistic answer to grunge, which members saw as just another form of big, dull American rock. The band intentionally made their sound as small as possible, thumbing their collective musical noses at the very idea that in the USA something so incredibly wide-load and excessive could be perceived “alternative.” CAKE wondered, how could music that is the aural equivalent of Amazonian rainforest deforestation be in any way subversive? Weren’t these really just the sounds of the strong overcoming the weak, Exxon overwhelming indigenous Columbians, or huge banks bribing our elected officials to rig our political system beyond all functionality? And weren’t many of these supposedly groundbreaking bands just Rush or Ted Nugent in different clothing? And how could so much purported low self-esteem be broadcast so loudly, so proudly, from up on a stage no less, and with such strident rock pomp and ritual? Something just didn’t make sense. So CAKE wanted to be small and low to the ground. Dubbed “one hit wonder” in response to every single album they have ever released, within this larger cultural context, their small sound was mostly just mistaken for weakness and their embracing of non-rock sonic elements was mostly mistaken for humor. Get it? It’s not powerful, surging, straining Anglo-rock, so it must be a joke. Luckily there were people who understood CAKE, and for the St. Louis Dispatch CAKE’s music was “an utterly fresh sound, especially given the preponderance of overblown “alternative” bands.” And the San Francisco Bay Guardian even noticed that “CAKE doesn’t ask you to suck it’s angst.” Somehow a copy of CAKE’s first demo made it all the way to France, where it was immediately understood and well-received – “The drug dealers do not thank CAKE,” astutely observed French music magazine, Les Inrockuptibles, So true.