Valentine’s Day can be disappointing for several reasons. It is funny how the Hallmark holiday can leave the lonely lonelier and the attached let down by the inability for any events to reach expectations. Cleveland, a town with its own self-confidence issues, could have been the perfect place for a visit from the lovely, jazz-infused sounds of a band from the prettier, more confident Chicago. By now, The Sea and Cake are established, professional musicians with tight-knit sets that have less to do with a desire, or a hunger to perform, and more to do with a necessity to play music. Accordingly, their set at the Grog Shop did live up to expectations. It was a well-structured, virtually flawless performance that comforted and satisfied those who needed it.
Although their selection of songs heavily sampled their new album, Car Alarm (Thrill Jockey), rather than their well-known back catalogue, Sam Prekop and friends engaged the large, young crowd. Unfortunately, the members of Sea and Cake seemed unenthused by the audience. Although, watching drummer John McEntire’s (also of Tortoise) perfect rhythm and emotional facial expressions was a show in itself, the sometimes vocal Prekop, Archer Prewitt, and Eric Claridge seemed unaware that an audience had shown up to see them.
Regardless of their distant stage presence, which artist’s of the ’90’s post-rock era seem to have, the best aspect of Sea and Cake is their angular riffs and complex song construction mixed with an almost soft spaciness. Live Sea and Cake shouldn’t have sounded like studio Sea and Cake, but they did.
Photo Credit: Noahm Photography