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Sea & Cake and the Zincs @ Sala Rossa

Posted by Scott / June 4, 2007

sea-cake-three.jpg(Prekop, Prewitt and a LOT of dudes)

While the Sea & Cake are an odd fit with the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival, it didn’t seem to bother the sell-out crowd at Sala. Boasting what can be described as “civilized set times” (ie: early start, and unlike so many shows, actually running on time), this night offered two Chicago bands that balanced clean, pop songwriting with smart changes and an intricate layering of instruments. This was a night of refreshing understatement, and it’s funny how significant that can be.

First on the bill were the Zincs, who are a traditional four-piece (2 guitars, bass and drums) with a computer thrown in every so often for texture. They played twangy indierock that reminded me (at times) of the Wedding Present, or like the Shins if Mark Kozelek were singing.

The Zincs delivered a solid, skilled set that didn’t require pyrotechnics to get noticed, and they were well received by the audience. Even the band’s limited French was appreciated by the crowd, and I suspect the foursome will return to Montreal on a future tour.

However, the headliners for the night brought the crush to the front of the stage. I noticed that there were a disproportionate number of dudes in the crowd talking about the proficiency of the musicians, and I suspect it was because of the Sea & Cake’s supergroup line up – outside the group, Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt have acclaimed solo careers and drummer John McIntyre is a member of Tortoise and a notable alt-rock producer. These projects, and the Sea & Cake's discography, make the members something like indierock royalty, capable of being voted into parliament in a European country.

The group played as a traditional four-piece (sans keyboards), displaying their wispy-yet-driving aesthetic to full effect. I have always found that there is something especially summery about Sea & Cake, and their set last night was no exception: clean vocals, clear, bell-like guitar tones, a bassist who often leads the melody, and tight, shuffling drumming. The band worked through songs from their newest album, Everybody, and also played a significant selection from their back catalogue, including “Jacking the Ball”, “Coconut” and “Parasol”, much to the delight of the informed, excited crowd in attendance. I was actually surprised by the number of older songs the band played, given that so many bands dislike being known for their back catalogue. It was good to see a group promoting the songs fewer people knew (ie: from the new album) but also playing the pieces people wanted to hear.

On the whole the night was a success, and after a breezy evening of seminal post-rock, it was lovely to slip out into the summer night and watch the wind whip the trees, and not be caught in a thunderstorm that has been predicted for about 8 days now.
sea-cake-one-a.jpg(note: the rain started this morning!)

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